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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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    Rafflecopter picked a winner for me in the ceramic horse giveaway, and that lucky person is Trish Rucker! I have you emailed you, Trish, so please check your messages!


    Thank you to everyone who entered and shared this giveaway! It received over 120 entries and I'd definitely like to do more in the future. Maybe we can get Dana to part with a partridge or kitty cat for the next one.

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    I love Daryl Hall and John Oates. Gosh, it feels refreshingly easy for me to say that today.

    Believe it or not, it wasn't easy being a teen fan of Hall and Oates in the '80s. Yes, it should have been a piece of cake during their heyday, with so many catchy, easily charting hits such as "Private Eyes", "Kiss On My List", "Say It Isn't So", "Did It In A Minute", "I Can't Go For That", "Maneater", "Out of Touch", and countless others.

    Yes, it should have been. Except I was 12 years old when my infatuation started, and I went to a junior high where it was all about how "cool" you were by the brand names of clothing that you wore, and the music that you listened to.

    And for some reason, Daryl Hall and John Oates weren't cool in my peers' eyes...and even by family members, for that matter.

    My classmates teased me, my sisters said that they were gay, and even my friends at the time (who were into Duran Duran and Tears for Fears) thought they were lame by comparison. Recently I stumbled upon a Rolling Stone interview with them at the time Big Bam Boom was released, and the reporter opens the piece by describing the unintentionally amusing questions that viewers called in for them during a MTV program. Every single one sounded like it came directly from one of my nitwit peers back in the day:

    "Are you guys fags?"
    "Why are you dressing like you're into punk these days?"
    "How did you make the drums (in the "Out of Touch" video) so big?"

    Needless to say, I believe that Hall and Oates never got the proper respect in some circles that they deserved back in the day. Part of that may have been because their music wasn't so easy to categorize. Were they pop artists? Rock? Soul? Easy listening? All of the above, in my opinion.

    And also freaking awesome!

    It's now been more than 40 years since I fell in love with Daryl Hall and his "blue eyed soul" voice, face, and musical talent...and John Oates' humorous sidekick camera hamming (and his musical talent as well.) And I think I still love them and their music just as much as ever before. As I binged my way recently through every music video that I remembered (and some I had never seen) I swear I could feel my vibration rise...those feel-good endorphins kicking in. Suddenly I'm a young teen again, and I'm waving my H&O freak flag proudly.

    (By the way, my crush ended when Daryl grew out his hair into an overgrown, badly permed mullet by 1985. When he came out on stage at the 1985 Liberty concert sporting the 'do as well as tight pants, I felt that he was trying to emulate David Lee Roth or somebody. I much preferred the Daryl from the early '80s with the blazers, sideburns, and shorter pompadour hairstyle. My, but he was dreamy back in those days. Whenever I heard "Kiss On My List" I pretended he was singing about me.)

    Where was I? Oh, right -- respect. How can anyone diss a band where G.E. Smith is the lead guitarist??? Or that has the coolest sax player that is STILL with the band? (Something I learned during my trip down memory lane: Charles "Mr. Casual" Dechant doesn't appear in a single H&O music video without wearing sunglasses.) My favorite line-up of this group is always going to be these guys, plus the late Tom "T-Bone" Wolk on bass and Michael Curry on drums.


    I also want to set one thing straight, because it's been bothering me for all of these years: Daryl Hall and John Oates are NOT gay. Sure, Daryl had that androgynous look for a while during the '70s (he even appears wearing a dress and high heeled sandals in the promotional video for "She's Gone" -- look up this odd gem of a video sometime.) And yes, the guys allowed themselves to be made up in make-up for their fourth studio album simply titled "Daryl Hall and John Oates." (Hall later said he resembled the type of woman he wanted to date.)

    I hate to burst the naysayers' bubbles, but Hall has been married twice -- and was in a long-term relationship with Sara Allen (yep, the woman that "Sara Smile" was written for--and who also co-wrote many of the band's hits) for nearly 30 years. (He also cheated on her which resulted in him becoming a father, which I'll get to in a minute.) Oates is still married to his second wife. Whenever the gay question came up in interviews, Hall would respond that Oates just wasn't his type--too short and dark.

    Speaking of Oates, it was a shock to see him sans mustache eventually in his career. (Not to worry; his facial hair lived on in a cartoon dedicated to his trademark, called "J-Stache.")

    I could go on and on about my love for H&O, but this blog post is about ten songs of theirs that I would consider underrated...songs of theirs that should have charted higher or simply have never received any radio play...and there are many, stretching back to Whole Oats, their debut album. (Joke time...what did these guys do before they were famous? They were truck drivers...hauling oats! Ba da bump!)

    Las Vegas Turnaround (1973)



    "Sara Smile" wasn't the first song H&O wrote about Sara Allen; she also appeared in "Las Vegas Turnaround", a breezy little tune about her adventures at the time as an airline stewardess.

    "Back Together Again" (1976)



    A groovy lost tune from the disco era and the Bigger Than Both Of Us album, this one reached #28 on the U.S. music charts. I love the juxtaposition of Hall's falsetto with Oates' vocals (Oates also takes full credit on the writing honors for this one.) To the best of my knowledge I have NEVER heard this one on the radio which defies logic.

    "It's a Laugh" (1979)



    We've all been here.

    "Intravino" (1979)



    Other than the depressing "Red Red Wine", how many pop songs do you know that sing the virtues of the grape-derived alcohol? Given how prevalent wine tours and drinking has become over the past 15 years or so, this song seems ahead of its time -- and has a great, fast pulsed New Wave sound to it.

    "Every Time You Go Away" (1980)



    Better than Paul Young's cover, in my opinion, with a gospel-like sound to it. This appeared on Voices.

    "Your Imagination" (1981)



    Remember when Daryl Hall and John Oates showed up at your work's office building to film a music video? Me neither, but this overlooked gem that appeared on the highly successful Private Eyes album failed to go high on the charts for some reason.

    I'm guessing that Hall wrote this, again, about Sara Allen. He admitted to having flings to People magazine, stating that he often had to deal with his girlfriend's "traumas." Allen's suspicions were well-founded: in 1983, Hall had a one-night stand with an 18 year-old fan after a concert which resulted in her getting pregnant. Now in his 30s, Hall's son says his father, sadly, won't have much to do with him despite being proven his biological parent with a DNA test. The mother says the band's crew would regularly pull good looking girls from the audience at shows to meet the guys backstage--she compared the room she waited in as the cattle call area.

    I was kind of disappointed to learn that Hall and Oates resorted to this kind of behavior...but such is the life of a rock star, especially once they make it big, I guess.

    "Family Man" (1982)



    Yes, this song WAS a hit--albeit a bit of a lost one in my opinion--and I've always felt the guitar licks by G.E. Smith and Oates in this one were under appreciated.

    "Possession Obsession" (1984)



    I love this track from the Big Bam Boom album. The message is still relevant today, and it's always nice to hear Oates take the reins and sing lead. If I remember correctly, it deserved more radio time and a higher place on the charts.

    "Bank On Your Love" (1984)



    Also from Big Bam Boom, this sexy rocker with just the right amount of country twang is probably one of the duo's least known songs and really shows their versatility. I can think of a multitude of other artists that could have covered it but to the best of my knowledge, no one's ever touched it, although Billy Gibbons did a nice version of it with Hall on Live From Daryl's House.

    "Do It For Love" (2003)



    As some people may remember, Hall and Oates split up in 1985 to pursue solo projects. They reconciled and recorded a new album in 1988, but I've always felt a bit of the gold they struck with their '70s and '80s' hits was lost. "Do It For Love", though, which was released in 2003, seemed to retain some of that magic but updated for the new millennium.

    I'm going to remain a Daryl Hall and John Oates fan 'til the day I die. What underrated or favorite tracks would you add to my list?

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    I know, it's not earth shattering news to declare on a blog that the '80s looked so awful. I love the '80s; I really do. I came of age, so to speak, in the decade and I loved the music and seeing "technology" (aka Walkmans and VCRs) sprout at a rapid pace before our eyes. But believe it or not, it's only recently that I could appreciate just how flipping terrible our clothing and hair looked during this decade of decadence. Don't get me wrong or call me clueless -- I've known for a good 20 years now how bad we all looked back then. But what I'm trying to say is that at the time I was living through the era I was blissfully unaware of it all. I thought I looked GOOD.

    I thought THIS looked good:


    I thought THIS was cool:


    I thought THIS was cute:


    What were we all thinking at the time? Eighties fashion is now so laughable and regrettable that they now make Halloween costumes of it. And if you wore one to a party, there's no doubt everyone would know what moment in history you're from.

    To be fair, the start of the decade wasn't so awful looking at all. Take a look at, for example, (and I know this is a really oddball choice) a movie like Caddyshack. OK, with all fairness it was filmed in 1979 and released in 1980, but for the first few years of the '80s, clothing was still pretty normal looking in my opinion. Yeah, it was filmed on a golf course, but the tees and shirts were still pretty mainstream. We had no inkling of the outlandish shoulder pads and bulky sweaters that were to come.

    I remember that most of my clothing for the first two or three years of the '80s was pretty much the same as the '70s. I remember my now-former sister-in-law at the time giving me some of her three-quarter sleeved angora sweaters. I wore them to school with my Levis and felt sexy (even though I still really had no clue what the word meant) for the first time in my life.

    We also had the preppy look which started early and continued into the decade. Seeing the "Bermuda bag" in this diagram was truly a flashback for me; I had one as well as both of my sisters.


    I'd say it was about around 1984 when everything kind of fell apart...or exploded, depending upon your perspective. I'm no fashion historian or expert, so I don't know what was going on in Paris and New York that was driving some of these mid-80s looks. I can only guess that it was a reflection of the MTV craze and pop culture at the time, even though (ironically) we went through a phase in the '80s where the '50s look was big.

    The following magazine cover below is from the Australian version of Vogue, circa 1985. Kinda says it all, really -- although I will admit I like the scarf (just not being worn on the head like that) and the funky earrings.


    And speaking of neon lipstick, I had a bright hot pink sweatshirt that matched the lipstick above. Just like the sun, no one could risk looking directly into. I had the miles of thin rubber bracelets, the leg warmers, the parachute pants, a pair of hightop Reeboks, the jelly shoes, and several leggings covered with funky patterns that matched my ESPRIT sweaters. (I still think there's nothing wrong with wearing leggings today, as long as they're a solid, neutral color.


    At least we can't say there wasn't any color in clothing during this time.

    I had baggy sweaters with shoulder pads (cringe.) My mother and I recently got rid of several Vogue Knitting issues we'd been holding onto from the '80s. They weren't even worth scanning and poking fun at on this blog. Mostly sweaters that looked like Bill Cosby's, but for women. It's amazing -- you can find lots about '60s designs that you could wear today, and even some trends from the '70s if modified for the modern age. But the '80s knitting pattern books had to GO.

    One of my favorite '80s staples that I did like were jumpsuits. Mine were actually pretty sleek and slim looking, not the baggy ones you often see in old catalog or pattern scans. I had a navy blue one from the Spiegel catalog made out of comfortable woven cotton jersey, and it had a drawstring and pockets. To this day I wish I still had it.

    One small consolation to me is that the men didn't have it so easy, either.






    And don't even get me started on the hair and makeup during this time. "Maybe she's born with it"? No, more like she speckled it on...




    I'm just glad that the chances are good that we won't be seeing these fashion trends for a good long time; possibly never again, although some designers have tried unsuccessfully to bring back large shoulders and other details in recent years. Fortunately I don't think anyone is gullible enough to put up with this again. I guess the one good thing I can say about '80s fashion is that it was as unforgettable as it was regrettable.

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    I have a confession to make. If I meet the right man within the next few years, get married, and he's in a position where I can stay at home and earn income on my blogs and freelance writing either full-time or in conjunction with a part-time job outside of the home, I'd be thrilled. I'm also perfectly happy cleaning the house and making dinner for him while he works full-time.

    In other words, there's a part of me that fantasizes about being a housewife, albeit a modern (and hopefully not desperate) one.

    Is that shocking? A sexist view? Do I sound lazy? Way too old school? (Well, this is a retro blog, after all.) Am I setting my sisterhood of my fellow gender back about a century with that revelation?

    I don't think so. In recent years I've come across blog posts...and entire blogs...written by modern housewives. Young ones, too; younger than me in most cases. And they're happy, and they love it. Some of these women don't even have children and they love the arrangement. And they assure their readers that it isn't a case of being controlled by their husband; this was a choice (albeit one they made after confirming that it was financially feasible for their household.)

    I think that's the key word: choice. A lot of feminists may not be thrilled by the idea of women devoting most of their time to minding the children and keeping the kitchen floor shiny (without any yellow waxy build-up, the very thing that plagued Mary Hartman.) But if there's one thing feminism accomplished in the 20th century, it's that it gave women choices. That includes a choice of going to work outside of the household, or staying at home.


    I realize that not everyone can do it. The cost of living in America has skyrocketed--especially in particular states--compared to when my parents were married and raising my siblings and me. I consider myself very lucky that I always had my mother waiting at home to greet me when I came home from school. By the 1980s, many of the kids in my school were living with a divorced parent and often coming home to an empty house while their mom or dad was still at the office.

    And it isn't that my mother didn't want to work. Before I was born, she once got a job at a florist and the store manager was going to train her in floral arranging, and my father made her quit. What the reason was, we don't know exactly, but I believe he was self-conscious and didn't like relinquishing part of the financial power to her. To this day, she still resents it, and says she would have had a nice nest egg saved up as a result. (Later, when I was a teenager and in my 20s, she did do sewing work at home for a woman that ran her own children's clothing business.)

    My dad was a control freak, and that makes me a bit resentful, too. The WWII generation was a different animal compared to the guys of today. Great in some ways, but behind the times compared to today in others. My dad never changed a single diaper in his life; today, I don't think I've met a single father that's never helped out in that department.


    But back to the joys of housewifery...I have a friend that I met through my Meetup group that is married and stays at home, by choice. She has a degree in hydraulic engineering and did have a full-time job a few years ago, but says she was so bored she was falling asleep at her desk. She and her husband have no children; when they met in college, she told him she didn't want them and he was OK with that. They own a big, beautiful home and travel about 3-4 times a year, and that includes at least one international excursion. She cooks. They entertain. And...they're happy. Really, really happy for a couple that's been married over 20 years. They're huge on fostering dogs and she's very active with a local dog rescue group. If she's not fostering a new dog in her home, she's transporting it to another foster or their forever home.

    She probably wouldn't think of herself as a housewife or homemaker; after all, her passion that takes up most of her free time is helping the dogs. But I think she is, just a modern one that again, was lucky enough to have that choice.

    I would imagine that for couples where one spouse/partner stays at home, that things have to be relatively less stressful then households where both partners work full-time. Maybe not so if you have babies and/or toddlers or a special needs child, but when the kids are in school I would imagine, in general, that there's more time for a stay-at-home mom to be able to exercise, take a nap, or meet a friend for lunch. I don't have children and yet there were many work weeks where I felt frazzled and like there were too many responsibilities at home that needed to be tended to before the weekend came. I would think to myself how easy I had it compared to a mother that needs to take care of her children's needs on top of working 40 hours a week or more.

    And let's not forget that there are a lot of househusbands out there today as well. I saw an article earlier this year about the unfair judgement these men often receive from their female counterparts at the playground and bus stop. These guys have said that they are frowned upon, and often viewed with less respect than stay-at-home moms. Many have lost their jobs and are taking care of the kids while their wife works and supports the household. In my opinion, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this arrangement; they should be commended for stepping up to the plate and raising the kids. It's not like their masculinity has taken a hit because they're home with their children full-time.


    There was a time when I thought I'd be bored out of my mind if I didn't have a full-time job. But now, after more than 20 years of bouncing from company to company and trying to prove myself, sometimes to really overly egotistical people, only to find myself downsized...well, the archaic housewife dream doesn't seem all that bad. Maybe it sounds like I'm setting women back, but I don't think there's anything so bad about wanting to keep a house decent looking and providing a hot meal for a husband when he gets home (provided he chips in on the weekends with cooking and household/yard chores.)

    And if I do get bored and want to return to a full-time job? I would still want to have that choice.

    Well, this is just my opinion, anyway. I have a lot of respect for housewives, both past and present. And if there are any happy housewives (or husbands) that read my blog and feel like chipping in with their two cents and how it's working for them, I'd love to hear it!

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    Now that Thanksgiving is done and dusted, and most of us are recovering from our turkey comas, it's time to start thinking about Christmas, Hanukkah, and any other gift-giving holidays. This year I've finally made the commitment to posting something I've been wanting to do for the past few years during the holiday shopping season: a retro gift guide! Throughout the past few years I've come across so many nifty new products with a retro slant that I thought I'd list them here in case you have a retro-loving loved one on your list to buy for this year. Now, I'm not going to tell you that "there's something here to please everybody" but I've tried my best to create a list that has items that appeal to men, and products that appeal to ladies. Anyways, here's ten gift ideas for the person that would like to bring a little bit of the retro into their modern life. Please note that prices stated were the prices available at the time I wrote this post; pricing and availability is, of course, subject to change. (And in case it's not obvious, the name of each product is also linked to where you can buy it online.)


    1. Moon Beam Alarm Clock by L.L. Bean, $49.95

    L.L. Bean has been selling this charming 1950s' style clock manufactured by Big Ben/Westclox for quite a few years now, and I own one and love it! You have the option of being awakened by the loud alarm ring, or the soft LED light (this second option, however, has failed to wake me up and if your head is turned away from the clock it's even less effective. Results may vary by sleeper.) It can be set so that just the light or alarm wakes you up, or both -- and the face has a soft backlight that can be switched on in case you need to check the time in the middle of the night. Of course, it is also has a snooze function, and runs on both electricity or two AA batteries so if you should lose power the little clock keeps on ticking. L.L. Bean currently has it available in an aqua blue or pale green; the model I have is a pastel yellow.

    No radio, but need one with a USB port to charge your mobile device? L.L. Bean sells a version with that option.


    2. Corelle's Vintage Charm Collection, Various Prices

    I saw these dishes and bowls when I visited the Corningware (Corelle's parent company) outlet in Kittery, Maine a couple of months ago and if I didn't already have enough home goods previously purchased and in storage for my own house someday, I would have snatched some of these up, too. These were inspired by previous designs by Pyrex and Corelle during the 1970s, so if you want to bring a bit of that sunshiny '70s goodness into your home, check them out. My favorites are the Golden Days and Tickled Pink mixing bowls. Right now they're on sale on Corelle's website -- so as Bob Barker would say, the price is right!

    3. Crosley Rochester 5-In-1 Entertainment Center, $88.00

    Despite the changes in the music industry in the past few decades, the enthusiasm for vinyl remains high. I looked at several turntables this week on Target but this one caught my attention because of the fact that it can play cassettes as well as CDs, and the reviews said the sound was remarkably nice for the price. Plus I love its old timey, 1920s radio-style look. Target sells a ton of turntables by Crosley and Victrola in similar styles with various options, so if this one doesn't do it for you check out the others while the sale prices are in effect.


    4. Qwerkywriter -- The Retro Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboard, $339.99

    Missing the clackity clack typing sensation of your high school or college typewriter? Well, the Qwerkywriter turns any mobile device or desktop computer into a vintage typewriter, without the need for whiteout or an ink ribbon. It pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled device. A little pricey, but such is the price we pay for nostalgia.

    5. Ladies' '70s-Inspired Flower Power Long-Sleeved Crewneck Tee and Blouse From Talbots, $34.99 and $59.99

    I have the machine washable woven cotton top on the left; the colors are fabulous, the fit is close to the body, and will add some pop to your winter doldrums. The blouse on the right is made of rayon and probably not as cozy for this time of year, but brings back that 1970s fun nonetheless and both look great with jeans. Talbots has been having online sales on various items nearly every day, and these as tops have been on sale quite a bit, I'd suggest snatching them up before they eventually sell out.


    6. AMC Retro 3.5mm Telephone Handset Receiver for iPhone, $14.99

    If you've gotten rid of your land line and you miss the familiar feeling of a handset, then just plug the AMC retro telephone handset receiver into your iPhone, and you'll soon be untangling the spiral cord just like the old school days. A benefit to this product according to the company is that it eliminates radiation absorption by up to 99% and reduces noise, resulting in a clearer call. I've shown the model in classic black, but it also comes in a few fun colors just like the princess phones of the '50s and '60s.

    7. Libbey Tiki Glasses, Assorted Styles and Prices

    Libbey, perhaps the world's largest manufacturer of glasses, introduced several tiki designs this year of various sizes and colors. You'll have to search for them on the Libbey site, but they're also being sold through Wayfair and several other online retailers. The sets are reasonably priced and sure to turn any gathering or BBQ into an early '60s tropical lounge!


    8. Peanuts 65th Anniversary Edition Colorforms, $19.95

    The Vermont Country Store has oodles of retro goodies and a selection of Peanuts merchandise including PJs and flannel sheets, but it was the classic Colorforms set that caught my eye; pure nostalgia from my childhood. For some reason I just loved these place on/peel off character sets as a kid. If you want to introduce your own children to something simple to play with that just requires imagination or you want to play around with them yourself, check the Vermont Country Store out; otherwise, you'll have to find a used Colorforms on eBay.


    9. Fuijifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Photo Camera, $56.20

    There was something about those Polaroid pictures, right? Yeah, the color was usually horrendous and often took on a softly focused, sepia-like quality, but when the company folded some of us missed them just the same. Fujifilm introduced its line of instant photo cameras a few years ago, and I actually own an Instax Mini 8. The picture size is much smaller than Polaroids; 2.5" high by 2" wide -- but that's what makes them fun. And the color? It's improved slightly from the 1970s Polaroid version and the pictures don't fade over time. The built-in flash always fires and you can play around with a brightness adjustment dial. This is also a great little camera for kids as well, as it gives them instant gratification without having to wait for mom or dad to print out digital snaps. (Yes, you do have to pay for the instant film but it's reasonably priced and found easily on Amazon.)


    10. Nostalgia Electronics '50s Style 3-In-1 Breakfast Station, $68.59

    I recently discovered Nostalgia Electronics and fell so much in love with everything they make that I was hard pressed to pick just one item for this gift guide, but I think this 3-in-1 breakfast station is a knock out. Make toast, brew up to 4 cups of coffee, and grill up some pancakes or eggs at the same time for the fam with this nifty looking gadget. The grill plate and oven rack remove for easy cleaning, and the whole thing is just so plain cool to look at.

    Here's the part of the post where I wish I could be like Ellen or Oprah and say I'm doing a giveaway of all ten items to one lucky reader but alas, I'm not that big of a blogger (yet.) Next year, kids. In the meantime, maybe this has helped with some ideas on Santa's list.

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    Well guys, I finally did it...Go Retro now has a YouTube channel. After nearly a decade of writing this blog I've finally been motivated to jump on the video bandwagon after seeing some fun, professional videos from a couple of other vintage bloggers that I've been following lately and also, the blog had a very good year this year, with readership and page views increasing.

    For my male readership, rest assured that this does not mean Go Retro is going to turn into a girly vintage fashion blog. As I explain in my first video, I still plan on writing plenty of content here that appeals to men, women, and both. Having said that, I HAVE been thinking lately that it might be fun to have a YouTube channel to cover vintage makeup and hair tutorials, recipes, stuff I've purchased, or anything else I feel like jabbering about. Truth is, I'm winging it a bit. As you can see from my first video below, I'm not using a fancy video recording camera like those really professional bloggers are using. But I'm sure these will get more polished, especially after I learn some video editing skills. (Looks like my posture needs some polishing in spots, too!)

    My first video is below (please be kind!) I do have an idea for another video in the coming weeks, so you'll be "seeing" me again soon! I look forward to having some fun with this in 2017!




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    You wouldn't know it from my blog postings but I swear -- sometimes a lot. I recently reviewed a blog post I wrote on here five years ago about how the f word has lost its shock value in today's modern world, only to realize that I haven't really been practicing what I was previously preaching. Ever since that post I jumped on the f-this, f-that, and f-ing bandwagon pretty quickly and haven't stopped. Somewhat ironically, I mostly drop the f-bomb in conversation with my mother, of all people (hey, she does it, too!) especially when it's a topic I'm especially aggravated by or I need to put emphasis on the point I'm making.

    Well, I'm making a New Year's resolution a month early, which I've already started today: it's time to start cutting it out. If I'm going to portray myself as the classy retro chick that I want to be, then there's no need for me to be dropping the f bomb at least a dozen times a day in normal conversation. I've gotten pretty exhausted from seeing it thrown out so casually on social media sites and usually by people younger than me.

    I think a bulb went off in my head about how awful excessive swearing can sound when I watched a video that an acquaintance posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. It was supposed to be a comedic video of a woman making a vegan version of a "turducken" (that's when a deboned chicken is somehow stuffed into a deboned duck, which is then stuffed into a deboned turkey. Don't ask me who invented this culinary creation or why.) The woman in the video swore worse than a drunken sailor, throwing around not only the f word multiple times in one sentence, but the s word and the a word as well, in a calm voice. The person that posted it apparently thought it was hilarious; I thought it was stupid and I was so turned off by the profanity that I didn't make it to the end of the video. Needless to say, it was an odd way to promote veganism!

    Then there was the video campaign put out by a feminist group a couple of years ago that featured little girls in princess costumes swearing and using the f-word. I get the group's intentions, which was to bring attention to equal pay for women, but felt there could have been a better way of delivering the message. "What’s more offensive?" the videos asked. "A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women?"

    Um. Well...

    What it did reveal to me is just how much further the word has lost its shock value. As I said in my original post on the topic, it seems that it's become such common language in videos and in blog posts that not many people bat an eye any longer at its excessive usage. I also get tired when I read it being used in a book, like if one of the characters uses it way too much.

    There's also been studies published in recent years claiming that swearing "expands your vocabulary" and "makes you smarter." I've seen this one get shared a lot on social media, I suppose so that people can promote swearing and justify their own use of the f-bomb and perhaps feel slightly less guilty about their regular word choices (I'm not judging; just making a guess based on what I've seen.)

    Don't get me wrong; I'm no goody two-shoes and it's not like I've never going to say a swear word ever again in my life. There's a time and a place for everything. I have also never said it at a job, or during events with a Meetup group and especially not when meeting people for the first time. Once I get to know someone, make friends with them, and hang out with them socially is when they start to see my f-bomb flag flap a little. But even then, I think I say it a little too much.

    It's time to dial it down a bit. Time to stay classy, as Ron Burgundy would say. Who knows, it may just reach a point in our society when it's the people that can control their swearing become the ones that stand out. From this day forth, the f*** stops here.

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    Woo, hoo! It's your lucky week, retro loving guys and gals! I've got another giveaway for all of you Go Retro readers, and this one's a delight. Up for grabs: one gorgeous copper, made in the USA cocktail shaker by Jacob Bromwell!

    Full disclosure: I'm actually the marketing manager for Jacob Bromwell on a freelance, contract basis. As such, I've accumulated many of their products through the years and none of them have let me down. This company has been making their products in the USA since 1819 -- a defining factor that drew me to them in the first place five years ago. Jacob Bromwell was an entrepreneur who started a wire-weaving and housewares company in Cincinnati that made shoe brushes, dusters, window brushes, rat traps (shiver), mops, popcorn poppers, flour sifters, and more -- you know, all of the essentials that any frontiersman or woman needed to keep an early American home spic and span.

    Today, Jacob Bromwell makes several kitchen utensils, flasks, cups, beer steins, money clips, camping utensils, and more -- and they still make their popcorn poppers just as they did in the early 19th century!

    However, the product you can win is the Legacy Cocktail Shaker. Imagine shaking up your or your guests' favorite cocktails in this classy copper and stainless steel beauty this holiday season.


    To enter, use the Rafflecopter app below. You must be a U.S. resident to win, and you can gain additional entries per the app's options. It will collect entries until Dec. 12th and I'll contact the winner on the 13th.

    ONE MORE THING! Jacob Bromwell is offering HALF OFF all orders until December 20th! Just use the discount code SAVE50 when placing your order. This special discount is site wide and has no restrictions. So definitely check their site out! Also, we are running a special giveaway series now through December 12 on our Facebook page, so you may want to give JB's page a like and enter the giveaways we're posting on a daily basis.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    I posted a video earlier today on Go Retro's YouTube channel where I talk a bit about vintage metal cake carriers from the 1940s through the 1970s. I show you my collection...which consists of one cake carrier (ha!) but you know, I think I picked the best design of the bunch (and I even wore a dress to match it.) So while this is hardly an earth shattering video, maybe it'll pique your interest about adding one of these former kitchen staples to your home. They're fairly cheap, fun, easy to find online...and who doesn't like cake?

    For some reason, my video editing software is chopping off a few extra seconds of where I've made the trim, so just FYI the video ends a few seconds early. Hey, I'm getting better at this.



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    Hey GR readers, please note: my blog template screwed up this post by publishing the entire thing on the home page. If you'd like to leave a comment on it, please use this link: http://www.goretro.com/2016/12/why-baby-its-cold-outside-is-not-about.html

    I originally did this post as a video for Go Retro's new YouTube channel yesterday, but took it down when I realized I was doing a disservice to the topic and that it was missing quite a few points I failed to mention in ten minutes of me speaking on camera. And since creating a new video would probably end up being double that amount, I thought I'd spare everyone from 20 minutes of listening to me babble on in my Boston accent and just put my rant down in words. 

    It's been said that today's world is getting too darn politically correct for its own good; it seems nearly everything today can be taken out of context and offend somebody. And for some reason, many Millennials seem easily offended by a lot of stuff. It's gotten so bad that many big-name stand-up comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have stopped performing at college campuses because too many students can't take even the slightest off-color jokes.

    And what's the latest thing that's gotten their diapers in a twist this time? Well, the classic holiday tune "Baby It's Cold Outside", of course! You know, the playful, witty, sexy song that features banter between a male and female vocalist. A song that's been recorded by everyone from Dean Martin to Tom Jones for nearly a quarter-century without ever raising an eyebrow before. 

    This is a song about date rape. Did you know that?

    Well, at least that's what two 20-something singer-songwriters from Minnesota believe. Last week The Huffington Postreported how Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski recorded what the HP writer describes as updated "adorably consensual" lyrics--lines that now include such cringe-worthy gems as, "You reserve the right to say 'no'", "Text me at your earliest convenience," and "How about the Cheesecake Factory?" Here's the song if you enjoy abusing your ears, or if you're just curious:


    A lot have people have tried to defend this reworked song by saying it's a parody. That would be true if it were actually funny....although I found the Cheesecake Factory line rather unintentionally funny. Also, is it just me...or is the new version of the song now promoting drinking and driving?

    Back to the HP piece; it actually starts off with this sentence: "If you've ever listened to the classic Christmas song 'Baby It's Cold Outside,' then you know it's a really screwed-up tune."

    Actually, I didn't know. Because it's NOT a really screwed-up tune, and it's not creepy, unless you have some sort of twisted, perverted psyche that believes it is about date rape. 

    These people don't know the history of the song, and apparently they didn't bother to look it up. Nor are they perhaps that acquainted with the social norms of the time. 

    In the 1940s, which was before the sexual revolution, pre-martial sex was socially unacceptable and generally frowned upon. And that's what the gist of the original song is about -- the man wants her to stay the night, using the snow and cold outside as the perfect excuse. And I believe the woman wants to stay and fool around with him, but she's gently rebuffing his pleas because she's concerned about her reputation and what the neighbors and her family may think of her ("The neighbors might think," "My maiden aunt's mind is vicious," "There's bound to be talk tomorrow.")

    "Baby It's Cold Outside" was written in 1944 by acclaimed Broadway composer Frank Loesser, the same guy that wrote the score to Guys and Dolls and gave us classics such as "Heart and Soul" and "On a Slow Boat to China." Initially, Loesser would perform the song with his wife at parties, where it always wowed their friends.

    Frank Loesser's son, John, was interviewed about the song by the Palm Bean Post in 2010 that was reprinted on the official site for his dad. From the article:

    “My father wrote that song as a piece of special material for he and my mother to do at parties,” says John Loesser, who runs the Lyric Theatre in Stuart, and is the son of legendary composer Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.)

    Frank Loesser’s wife, Lynn, was a nightclub singer who had moved from Terre Haute, Ind. to New York in search of a career. She was singing in a nightclub when she met Frank Loesser around 1930.

    The song itself was written in 1944, when Loesser and his wife had just moved into the Hotel Navarro in New York. They gave a housewarming party for themselves and when they did the number, everybody went crazy.

    “We had to do it over and over again,” Lynn Loesser told her kids, “and we became instant parlor room stars.”

    Performers started to take note of the song, and record covers of it. It's also featured in the 1949 musical comedy Neptune's Daughter as sung by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams below. And in that movie, it takes an ironic tone since the movie takes place in a warm climate. It also earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song. 


    The one line that the easily offended are extracting as evidence that the song is about date rape is, "Say, what's in this drink?" This line also bothered Liza, who told the Huffington Post, "You never figure out if she gets to go home. You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth."

    (No pun intended, I'm sure.)

    Only, "Say, what's in this drink?" had a different meaning in previous decades. If someone were to say it today, we'd think they were asking if someone slipped them a Mickey (date rape substance, for you younger 'uns.) In fact, the phrase was a slang expression that one would use as a joking pre-cover up to any questionable behavior they were about to undertake by consuming alcohol. And that's ALL that it means. 

    In fact, the social justice warriors finding offense with this song may be surprised to know that a feminist publication, Persephone Magazine, defended the composition by saying, "It's not a song about rape. It's a song about the desires even good girls have." And as for that line, "What's in that drink?" they had this to say:

    “Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn’t really used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse. The drink is the shield someone gets to hold up in front of them to protect from criticism. And it’s not just used in these sort of romantic situations. I’ve heard it in many investigation type scenes where the stoolpigeon character is giving up bits of information they’re supposed to be protecting, in screwball comedies where someone is making a fool of themselves, and, yes, in romantic movies where someone is experiencing feelings they are not supposed to have.

    As for Liza saying we never find out if the woman gets to go home in the song...I think the answer to that one is pretty obvious: she DOESN'T go home! The duet ends with her caving into her desires and both she and the male singer in harmony, belting out the final line, "Baby, it's cold outside!" in unity. 

    There's another way of looking at this song: I actually think it was an empowering composition for women at the time. To me, it's about a woman defying the social norms at the time and making her own decision to stay the night. 

    So really, I don't understand what the fuss is about with the PC police and insisting that this song is "creepy", but I suspect it'll be coming under fire every year out of ignorance and fear. The good news is, the revamped version is so awful to listen to that it's attracted way more negative comments and thumbs down on YouTube then the righteous rape phobics that actually enjoy listening to it. 

    At what point will this PC ridiculousness stop? I predict they'll be coming for "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" next, citing it as promoting elder abuse. Or how about "Santa Baby," which portrays women as gold diggers? 

    Well, I'm too over it to find out. I intend to listen to the classic versions of "Baby It's Cold Outside" until my ears fall off. And I suggest, GR readers, that you do the same. 




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    Recently I was looking up the types of models that kids used to make when model and hobby stores existed, and came across an advertisement for a curious looking contraption called the VAC-U-FORM.

    I'd never heard of it before, but basically it was a toy (albeit one that had to be used with caution) that kids (and adults) could use to make...other toys. Whoa. Knock me over with a feather; this thing looked like it was a blast!

    The VAC-U-FORM was manufactured by Mattel (you can tell it's Mattel; it's swell) in the early '60s and used the industrial process known as vacuum forming to make plastic molds on a small scale. The machine came with several plastic sheets in a variety of colors. The user would insert a sheet of plastic in a metal holder which got heated over a metal plate. When the plastic got soft and malleable, the holder was swung to the other side where a mold of a desired object was waiting for it. The user would press a handle on the side of the toy that created the vacuum and pressed the plastic over the mold. The shaped plastic would solidify and cool and voila -- you've got yourself a plastic toy, or a part that would be used to create one.

    The VAC-U-FORM came with several molds, but additional ones could be purchased separately, and any solid object that could withstand the high temperature and hot plastic could realistically be used as a mold.


    Of course, a toy like this would be considered dangerous today, as there were exposed hot surfaces that a child or grown-up could burn themselves on. While Mattel discontinued the product at some point, another company called ToyMax produced its own version, called the VAC-U-FORMER, in the 1990s. Their version was a little safer as it replaced the hot plate with a light bulb, similar to what's found in an Easy Bake Oven.

    Both products appear to be readily available on eBay, with prices ranging from $30 for just the machine itself to $100 for an unused complete kit. Wikipedia says many are still in use today, particularly by hobbyists that use the product to make parts for their own crafts.

    All I know is...if this had been still on shelves when I was a kid, I definitely would have asked for one! (I also like that a product like this was marketed to both girls and boys.) It looks really awesome; worth the risk of a few burned fingers...


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    When NBC's popular cop series Adam-12 ended in 1975, the final episode left the fates of officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed dangling for its viewers; Reed was considering taking an investigator's exam which would have steered him away from the more dangerous patrol division and given him a desk job at his wife's urging. But then the series ended, and viewers never did learn what became of the the rookie and the more seasoned cop that over time became close friends.

    Martin Milner (Malloy) and Kent McCord (Reed) also didn't share the screen again...until 1989, that is. That's the year they teamed up for a movie called Nashville Beat that was shown...where else? On the Nashville network. I've seen a lot of comments online from viewers saying that they consider the movie to be the closest thing to an Adam-12 reunion and they seem more than satisfied with the storyline and the setting.

    But make no mistake; Nashville Beat is not an Adam-12 reunion. For starters, the two guys play completely new characters; McCord is Lieutenant Mike Delaney and Milner is Captain Brian O'Neal. And while the chemistry is still there between the two actors, this project was McCord's idea and his role is just a little more prominent and has more screen time. Even the photo from the IMDB page for the movie features only McCord. He co-wrote the story and from an older article I found online that was written as the movie was about to air, he was hoping this would get picked up as a regular series. It didn't, and in my opinion it's easy to see why: other than the fact that both guys play cops that started their career together with the LAPD and their characters get along, it doesn't really have the Adam-12 feel or structure to it at all. One of the things that made Adam-12 compelling to viewers was the fact that each episode was only a half hour long and portrayed the unpredictable nature of being a police officer on patrol. With each episode, you never knew what problems, crimes, or people the two guys would have to respond to and deal with.


    With Nashville Beat....well, first of all, I mean no disrespect to the citizens of Tennessee's capital, but my one big glaring question about this movie is why Nashville? I don't know too much about McCord's personal life, but perhaps he lived in Nashville at some point or was enamored with the city. But it isn't like the film shows much of anything of the city's historical landmarks such as the Grand Old Opry or the Parthenon, except over the opening credits. Most of the action is regulated to a honky tonk (where Garth Brooks makes an appearance and wastes too much screen time singing), the police department, and an apartment. And one of the minor characters has the mandatory moniker Bubba for these such movies.

    During the opening scene, Delaney -- who's a widower -- is flying to Nashville to meet up with O'Neal and in what seems like a precursor to flying in the year 2016, handcuffs a drunk, unruly passenger. He also gets hit on by a flight attendant with a bad perm (well, it was the year 1989 after all...and there's bad hair galore in this movie.) "Still too soon, huh?" asks O'Neal when the attendant comes by and comes on to him again, this time after they're off the plane. "I guess so" Delaney responds. He's got kids back home in California, and we don't find out how long ago his wife died or what she passed away from.

    O'Neal's home life is happier; he lives on a sprawling horse ranch and is still enjoying a happy marriage which his long-time wife, who informs Delaney at one point that her husband wants to retire in a few years and she's scared that something could happen to him on the job when she learns he'll be assisting first-hand in thwarting a gang.


    For my fellow red-blooded females that love Martin Milner, I guess it's worth pointing out that he's now a certified silver fox in this film, and his boyish trademark smirk is still in place, as evident by the screen shot above. His character is also a lot looser than it was on Adam-12; there's even a scene where he loses his cool and screams while interrogating a witness, something that we wouldn't have seen Pete Malloy doing. He later blames this on being behind a desk for so long. And McCord's character is a take-charge kind of guy; he's not the newbie he was on Adam-12.

    As far as the rest of the plot -- well, there's not much to it. As I said, the boys get involved in an undercover sting to stop a local gang's crime spree. They enlist a cocky colleague with a little black book (what players used before smartphones) and a fondness for the Beatles to wear a wire and make a deal with the gang's leader. Oh, and romantic sparks fly between Delaney and the owner of the honky tonk he, O'Neal, and other department members frequent. She has REALLY big and long hair. By the end of the film, Delaney is considering bringing his kids on the next visit to Nashville to see if they would all consider relocating to the area.

    I think McCord's heart was in the right place when he co-wrote this film, but there's no way this can be considered an Adam-12 reunion. It would have been far more interesting to see if bachelor Malloy had eventually married and perhaps became a father, and what became of Reed's career. Of course, Martin Milner passed away last year so that's just going to have to be left up to fans' imaginations.

    Ironically, though, I think Adam-12 fans are the ones that would get the most enjoyment out of the movie and seeing Milner and McCord share the screen again (they would do so again in 1997 in an episode of Diagnosis Murder playing yet again LAPD cops.) Also, 1989 was the year that a newer but crappy version of Adam-12 started airing that only lasted one season. Milner and McCord never appeared on the new show.

    The best scene in Nashville Beat in my opinion? It's when the guys sing backup on a Beatles tune, as seen below. It comes at the very end so if you don't want to waste your time watching this movie, you can cut to the chase and savor it below. (If you do want to watch the whole film, it's been uploaded to YouTube here.)


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    Debbie Reynolds is being lovingly remembered this week for her iconic roles in Singin' In the Rain, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and The Singing Nun, as well as her many television roles, her devotion to daughter Carrie Fisher, and her marriage to Eddie Fisher that ended in scandal. However, many people may not know that in the early '80s, Reynolds actually jumped on the fitness video craze of the early '80s by releasing her own exercise VHS called Do It Debbie's Way (which in another life might have been the title of a porn film.)

    I'm actually very familiar with this underrated, charming, humorous gem of a workout tape, because my mother owned a copy. She used it so much she actually wore it out, and between the time Amazon launched and DVDs replaced VCRs I was able to purchase a new copy for her.

    This is actually a very entertaining fitness video; several of Reynolds' Hollywood gal pals join her on the set including Dionne Warwick, Teri Garr, Virginia Mayo, Pat Van Potten, Terry Moore, and a lazy (and chubby) Shelley Winters, who half-asses her way through most of the exercises. Speaking of the softly lit set, it features Grecian columns, a chandelier, the name DEBBIE in big letters, and a pink theme, inspired -- according to Reynolds -- by her many years spent at MGM studios. There's also lots of spandex and leg warmers galore; Reynolds herself is wearing a burgundy-colored unitard (that features a collar) and stirrup pants leggings.


    The woman is just too cute in this video. Even as a kid watching it, I could sense that Reynolds was down-to-earth and seemed like she'd be a funny lady to be around. "This is the lousiest exercise I've ever had!" she exclaims at one point and "I hate exercise!" gets shouted out during another moment, as well as "If I only had a hit record I wouldn't have to do this!" which makes me wonder if someone talked Reynolds into doing this tape for some quick cash.

    "Raise your hand if you slept with Howard Hughes!" says Shelley Winters (who then raises her hand, just before everyone else does because it's part of the move they're doing before breaking out in a fit of giggles.) "C'mon Shelley, you're not even trying!" says Reynolds. I guess it was no accident that Winters' spot was regulated to the back of the room.

    And the soundtrack of choice for these workouts? Big band music...mostly Glenn Miller. You gotta love it!

    The tape is 85 minutes long and features three workouts; one 20-minute segment and two half hour routines. Reynolds explains at her introduction that she tried other workout tapes but found them too fast, whereas she likes to do things that are slow and easy. The workouts feature a lot of floor work, stretching, and light aerobics -- nothing that would cause most people to break out in a sweat or burn a ton of calories, but totally suitable for those that require or enjoy exercise that's on the easier side.

    Now here's the best part about this gem of a video. From the reviews on Amazon, it actually has a cult following of women that claim they still work out to it to this day! They like the old school ease and the entertainment it delivers. Hey, whatever motivates people to work out isn't bad.

    And for all of the griping Reynolds does during these workouts, she couldn't have hated them that much. In 1988, she released another workout VHS, this one called Couples Do It Debbie's Way. It featured Tom Bosley (!), Dick Van Patten and their wives, and Reynolds' third husband, Richard Hamlett. Unfortunately, there are no video clips uploaded publicly yet of her follow-up fitness project, but the video below gives you a good idea of what Do It Debbie's Way delivers. So make those New Year's resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, and..do it Debbie's way! (We'll miss you, Ms. Reynolds.)




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    Happy New Year, Go Retro readers! I think this is about the fifth time I've attempted this post. I simply wasn't sure whether I really wanted to do a "year in review" post. My year wasn't so hot, but then again it wasn't a hot year for a lot of people I know (it also wasn't a great year for Democrats and  Harambe the gorilla.)

    The main thing that happened to me got mentioned on here a few months ago; namely, that I was laid off from the new job I got in 2016 after only five months. I didn't say too much about it at the time for fear one of my former coworkers was reading this blog, but since I'm pretty sure none of them have ventured on it at all, I can open my mouth a little bit. I worked for an ego maniac and quite possibly the worst boss I've ever had. He was the CEO, and he was completely disrespectful to me with zero feelings for any of his employees. Even though my interview with him went well, I sensed something was off the first week -- and things went downhill from there. I knew something was really wrong with him when an employee's boyfriend died suddenly over the fourth of July weekend; the guy had fallen, hit his head, and then was on life support for a week before his family made the decision to remove him. When the announcement was made, it came from the CFO, not the CEO (who was present in the room but clearly had some issue with announcing it to the staff.) The wake and funeral arrangements were not shared with us, and no sympathy card got passed around to be signed. The CEO was supposed to attend the funeral, but he didn't leave the office until a half hour before it was going to be over. The way the whole thing was handled really bothered me; it seemed very cold and so much different than other companies I've worked for.

    Needless to say, I was not happy. I should have been; it was the ideal job I wanted for what initially seemed like a nice company and I was making a steady salary again. But no matter how hard I tried, it was like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole: my boss, for whatever reason, simply did not like me.

    And things got worse from there. Believe me, I'm not whining or looking for sympathy because that first weekend after the layoff (it happened on a Friday) I was relieved to know I wouldn't have to return to that place on Monday morning. By the way, they hired a pretentious woman about ten years younger than me to take over my duties. She still hasn't managed to grow the company's Twitter followers beyond 800, when I grew it to that amount in five months.

    Right now I'm freelancing through the winter and will pursue a full-time job in the spring, but it won't be in marketing. I'm leaning towards a more administrative role that will allow me enough time for freelance writing on the side.

    2016 was definitely the year that some BS and people that were not good for me and did not have my best interests at heart got swiftly and quietly culled from my life, including that CEO, so it was all totally for the best. In the past couple of weeks I've been learning to be happy again day by day, no matter what seems to be currently lacking in my life. I've been more patent with my mother, and not sweating the small stuff (because so much of it is small stuff.) Not long ago, I sent an intention: 2017 is an amazing year for me and sooooo much better than 2016 was. I want to meet some cool new people, continue making some great friendships, and finally watch the online magazine freelancing course I purchased right after I lost my job and put the teachings into practice. I want to go roller skating with my Meetup group (a resolution I declared here last year that I never followed through with.) I want to be working again, this time for someone that appreciates my work and can actually say "thank you" and "great job."

    It's going to be a year full of fun, love, laughter, happiness, peace, health, and abundance.

    Now, onto Go Retro! It's hard for me to believe, but the blog is going to be turning 10 years old this summer. I'm not planning anything drastic for the content, but I think the layout is starting to get a bit old. I've been looking around at other Blogger templates and found one I really like, so don't be alarmed if you see the design change within the coming months (and if anything looks out of place.)

    Something else worth noting: two excellent retro-themed blogs I was following both hit the skids: Retrospace and The Glamorous Housewife. Retrospace was sold (and the new owners aren't posting content that is up to snuff with the original content) and The Glamorous Housewife is now debating politics on her Facebook page instead of demonstrating vintage style updos. With these two sites now stagnant, I sense an opportunity (as I rub my palms together in delight.)

    I'm still here. I'm still standing, as Elton John sang. That's what matters. I wish all of my readers a happy, healthy, prosperous 2017 and look forward to more retro times with you all!

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    Porpoise Room Cocktail Lounge, Marineland Of The Pacific, California
    Have you ever noticed how the inside of virtually every restaurant today, especially nationwide chains, all kind of look the same? One of my favorite restaurants in my area is one that used to be a Howard Johnson's back in the day, and while the interior has been updated, it's quite beautiful, modern, and unique compared to so many other places in the suburbs. A few months back I did a search for "vintage restaurants" on Flickr and ended up falling down a rabbit hole of mid-century design eye candy. The photos I uncovered reminded me of a couple of now-defunct restaurants I went to as a kid. Although some of these places may be tacky by today's standards, at least no one can say they weren't original.

    Most of these came from Flickr users William Bird and SwellMap; they have plenty more where these came from (including a ton of great old travel images) so check out their pages sometime if you desire more. In the meantime, let's take a trip back in time to the '50s, '60s, and '70s when many restaurants (and there's some lounges in here as well) had their own unique theme and look...

    El Toro Steak House, Trenton, Ontario


    Everglades Roof, Miami, FL


    Rubaiyat Continental Dining, Ann Arbor, MI


    Manning's Cafeteria and Buffet, Seattle, WA


    Marineland of the Pacific, California


    The cocktail lounge at the Mountain Shadows Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ


    Christmas at Mrs. K's Toll House, Silver Springs, MD


    Castaways Wreck Bar, Miami, FL


    Le Palais, Atlantic City, NJ


    Michelle of the Denver Hilton, "Bridge In the Sky" -- this restaurant was located on the bridge in between the Denver Hilton and the May D&F department store, and sold Michelle's ice cream and pastries. In Denver, CO (obviously.)



    Howard Johnson's on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, PA



    Purple Tree Manger Vanderbilt Hotel, New York, NY



    Trott Inn Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA



    Swiss Chalet, Bismarck Hotel, Chicago, IL



    Canfield's Big Rock Cafe, Malibu, CA



    The Clipper Room, Yankee Clipper, Fort Lauderdale, FL



    Dutch Youngman's Famous Drive-In Restaurant, Monterey, CA



    The Acapulco Room, South Of The Border, SC



    King's Arms Tavern, Williamsburg, VA



    The Ramada Inn Coffee Shop, Los Angeles Airport, CA



    Bush Garden Japanese Restaurant, Seattle, WA



    Jacques French Restaurant, Chicago, IL



    So. Many. Plants.

    If this post brought back memories of an unforgettable restaurant, please let me know in the comments!

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    We live in very impatient times. Just the other day I was watching a DIY YouTube video on how to trim your own hair (don't tell my stylist!) when I noticed the same person left these three comments:

    STARTS AT A WHOPPING 8:21!!! UGH

    Hello! DID YOU REALIZE YOU SPENT 25 MINUTES JUST CUTTING TWO DAMN STRIPS OF HAIR?!

    Ugh I'm going to go punch a baby, bye!

    Really??? Did it not occur to this person that other options were available; namely, fast-forwarding through the video...or finding a new one to watch altogether?

    Likewise, there's a video clip currently being passed around Facebook, that you may have already seen, where an author named Simon Sinek is being interviewed on an online talk show called Inside Quest and starts listing everything wrong with Millennials, particularly in the workplace. Among the points he makes is that Millennials are an impatient bunch; having grown up with the Internet, social media, and texting, they've come to expect instant gratification--he says their brain actually gets a hit of dopamine every time someone likes their social media post--and unfortunately, this is causing problems when it comes to forging a career and forming relationships, as these goals usually do not happen overnight.

    Here's the clip in question--it's 15 minutes long, so get some popcorn first. And, if you're not a patient person (heh heh), he starts his point about patience at the 7:20 mark. :)



    It may seem like I've been coming down hard on Millennials on Go Retro lately. To be fair, I don't think it's just younger people that haven't learned the virtue of patience. I think older generations are losing it, too.

    You can see it for yourself first-hand every time you get behind the wheel of your car. One thing I don't miss while not working an out-of-the-house job is driving on the highway. The posted speed limit is a joke; very few drivers abide by it, and if I only had a dollar for every time I saw someone drive in the breakdown lane during congested traffic I'd probably never have to work again. Speeding, tailgating, switching lanes constantly, and cutting other drivers off has become normal, everyday occurrences. So is refusing to yield to oncoming traffic when entering a highway or rotary. People do not want to wait for anybody or anything. That includes refusing to pull over for ambulances and fire trucks. I'd like to ask some of these fools if there is a trophy or prize money waiting for them at their destination.

    But perhaps one of the saddest and most dangerous signs of impatience on the roads is refusing to stop for a school bus. Last year the news reported on numerous close calls; too many to count. Lots of kids were almost hit by cold, uncaring drivers that passed by buses as children were either waiting to get on a bus, step off of it, or cross a street to board one.

    What is wrong with people?

    I get that people have places to get to, particularly the office, but causing a car accident or someone's death is too high a price to pay to make it to work on time. Or maybe they're just late for their pedicure appointment, or on their way to go shopping at the local mall.

    Technology now spins the world at warp speed; we text instead of sending an email, the thought that we once used dial-up access to get online is ancient and painfully slow compared to instant WiFi access, and we can brew a cup of coffee in less than 30 seconds with our Keurig machines. There's nothing wrong with this kind of speed, but we shouldn't expect it to spill over into every single area of society in order to make us happy.

    Instant gratification is like a drug, as Sinek says in the video above. But there's something to be said about biding your time and working towards a goal. When I was a kid, I loved saving my allowance money to buy a special toy I'd had my eye on for a while. My parents didn't give me the money in one fell swoop; I earned it by doing chores and socking it away. Even today, as an adult, it feels a lot more satisfying in most instances to have to wait for something; you appreciate it a lot more and know you worked for it, vs. having something handed over to you right away.

    Luckily, there are still some things about modern life that still require patience. A human pregnancy still lasts, on average, for nine months (although I'm sure some Dr. Frankenstein out there will figure out a way to speed up the gestation period.) Relationships, whether of the platonic or romantic variety, still need time to blossom. Nature, for the most part, is still on her own timetable -- seeds don't sprout and emerge from the soil overnight.

    We need to be reminded of this, and relearn how to savor life while waiting for something. Or, to put it more bluntly, a lot of people really just need to chill out.

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    Note: Damn you, buggy Blogger template! It put this entire post on the home page again without showing the title or comments section. Time for a new template. In the meantime, to leave a comment (I know you want to!) please use this link to the properly formatted blog post: http://www.goretro.com/2017/01/hollywood-remade-chips-and-its-going-to.html

    As I'm sure you know, Hollywood has been running out of original ideas over the past 20 years or so. In that time, it seems there's been an excessive amount of remakes of TV series and older movies and most of them have sucked.

    The latest show to get the big screen remake treatment is CHiPs. I didn't even know this was an actual thing, until the preview showed up in my Facebook feed the other day. Before I say anything else in this post, I'll show you the trailer right now...



    Well, then. OK, the first thing is they didn't even "spell" CHiPs correctly. The movie poster and IMDB listing for it spells it in all caps: CHIPS. The proper spelling uses a lowercase "i" and "s". But that's the least of this movie's problems...

    I feel just a little hypocritical right now because I wasn't a CHiPs fan. I remember watching only a handful of episodes in the late '70s and early '80s. And let's face it: most vintage shows are a little bit cheesy, especially when it comes to injecting humor. CHiPs would usually end an episode with Ponch trying to impress a lady that he met, and failing miserably as the boys were off duty and socializing. But my first thought after watching the trailer (and I couldn't finish it the first time I viewed it) is that the movie looks like it's going to be really disrespectful to the series. Not just the series, but the original actors--Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox--as well. And worst of all, it seems very disrespectful of law enforcement professionals.

    The trailer portrays "Ponch" (Michael Peña) and "Jon" (Dax Shepard)  as two goofballs doing tricks on their motorcycles and carelessly damaging other vehicles while they sing along to a horrible auto tuned song about the California Highway Patrol. Jon is covered with scars (not to mention Shepard's tats) and popping painkillers. And what's up with the crotch shots and implied homophobia? This is supposed to be funny?

    It was reported yesterday that Erik Estrada (who became a real-life reserve officer for the town of St. Anthony, Idaho last year) deemed the new movie "pure trash" and he also retweeted tweets from people condemning the film. (He has since tried to downplay his thoughts on the movie, but I shared his original knee-jerk reaction.)

    Now, the original CHiPs had a lot of humor in it, and it gets classified as a "light drama" that showed very little violence. It didn't take itself too seriously. But, much like Adam-12, it still portrayed police officers as helping ordinary citizens in dangerous situations and it also inspired some fans to pursue a career in law enforcement.

    The CHIPS reboot focuses on catching corrupt cops within the highway patrol division, and Jon trying to impress his wife (played by Dax Shepard's real-life wife, Kristin Bell) with his uniform.

    Speaking of Shepard, we can blame this train wreck on him; not only does he star in CHIPS, but he wrote the script, directed the movie, and produced it as well. I'll be honest -- I never watched Shepard's series Parenthood and I've never seen any of his films including Employee of the Month, Let's Go To Prison, and Without a Paddle. I've seen some interviews with him and find him likable, despite his awkward first name (his mother named him after a character in a cheesy romance novel) and the fact that his face reminds me at times of Barry Manilow once he started to get plastic surgery. He's also into vintage wheels, and posted a photo of a gorgeous 1960s Lincoln on his Instagram page, so I give him props for that. But if he's as funny and talented as everyone (or at least, the comments on YouTube) say he is, then I think he could have approached the CHiPs project with a little more decorum. I don't get how a scene where Ponch accidentally bumps his face into Jon's underwear-covered genitals is supposed to be funny.

    Audiences of my generation don't need another movie remake filled with frat-boy humor, we need films with original story lines. And not to sound like a superficial girl, but let's face it -- Pena and Shepard are not as cute as Estrada and Wilcox were:


    Oh, well. When will Hollywood learn? Even if this movie bombs, they'll just continue to remake shows into pap. Let's just hope they never do this to Adam-12.

    For nostalgia's sake, here's the cool opening theme to the TV series. Wonder if the movie will eff up that, too.


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    "Attention, Kmart shoppers! This is your blue light special..." Although Kmart has tried on and off through the years to resurrect its blue light special (which apparently lives on digitally via its website) I bet it's been decades since you've heard those words announced in a Kmart store.

    Heck, the last time I visited a Kmart was at least ten years ago, and I've never returned to one since. The store felt old, dirty, messy, and seemed dimly lit. The merchandise, aesthetics, and employees made Walmart look like a Sachs Fifth Avenue. And ever since Kmart purchased Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 2004 it's been nothing but downhill for the two retail giants. In fact, last month it was announced that 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears locations across the country will be shutting down for good this year.

    Did you know that Kmart once opened up a small chain of fast food restaurants, called Kmart Chef, at some of its store locations in the late '60s? The first one opened in 1967 at its Pontiac, Michigan store. They were free-standing restaurants that served burgers and the usual sides but closed in 1974 after operating at only 11 locations.

    Through the years Kmart has experimented with introducing similar perks at its stores -- the closest thing to Kmart Chef today is K-Cafe, which serves a full breakfast menu in addition to other food options, but several of these have also been removed from remaining stores. Kmart also has a few odd features that never progressed past one operating prototype, such as Kwash (a laundromat in Iowa City) and Kmart Dental, an in-store dentist office in Miami.

    Despite trying to revitalize their branding after 2000 and bringing onboard Martha Stewart's merchandise and other notable brands, it seems they just couldn't compete with the likes of Target and Walmart. It's a sad legacy for S. S. Kresge, the man that founded the company in the late 19th century (the first Kmart opened in 1962.)

    So, let's take a look back at some vintage Kmart imagery from back in the day.


    I love that there's a cop in this artist's rendering of the store's grand opening. Someone's gotta keep those unruly shoppers in line!


    The very first Kmart to open, located in Garden City, Michigan.


    The TV department in the early '60s.


    The Kmart camera shop, in the pre-digital days when film needed to be developed.


    A Kmart Chef restaurant...and double cheeseburgers for 44 cents!


    The shoe department...so well stocked and neatly displayed!


    Telescopes for less than $10....a bargain.


    "And when we're done, you can ride in the trunk with the parcels."


    Way neater and cleaner looking than the last Kmart I was ever in.


    Rapid growth in the '60s.


    A Kmart Grill restaurant.

    Photo credit: John Strickler
    Yes, even President Trump and his first wife visited a Kmart back in the day. The story behind this photo is that the Trumps stopped into the Sanatoga, PA store to buy bedsheets for Don Jr., who was attending Pottstown's Hill School in the 1990s. PLEASE -- no nasty comments -- I'm including this photo for its nostalgic context!


    And that's one sign we'll probably never see the likes of again. RIP Kmart.

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  • 02/09/17--20:04: Clean Up Time

  • I'm working on a new post, but in the meantime needed to vent a bit. Tonight I got an email from an ad network I work with, that also works in conjunction with Google. Someone at Google came across an old post I did on here seven years ago and said it was in violation of their ad policies. Of course, I promptly removed it, being grateful that I received a warning and a kind email asking me to take it down (I've heard horror stories about Google removing AdSense from blogs without so much as a warning.)

    The blog post in question showed three vintage ads (it was part of the "Three Ads Too Good Not To Share" series that I did for a while) and one of them was an '80s ad for a phone shaped like a naked woman. I assume it came from Playboy decades ago. I don't remember what the other two ads were, but I immediately deleted the post.

    I'll be honest; I only skimmed through Google's ad policies a few years ago because I always considered this site to be "clean", especially in comparison to another retro themed site that got into trouble for posting a lot of images on a regular basis that contained blatant nudity. I also stumbled upon a strange Blogger site once that had the word "crafts" in the title but contained anything BUT how-to crafts. Let's just say the author was violating all kinds of adult content rules. But because they weren't running any advertising on the blog, they were allowed to publish it.

    But after getting this email from my ad network, I'm now a little bit paranoid. I removed a few posts I did last year on sexy women promoting automobile parts (too much cleavage could be a trigger...I'll work on a new post at some point that's more covered up) and a very old, brief post I did about an adult drinking game from the '60s with a suggestive name. However, even after reading Google's adult content policy and watching the accompanying video on it, there still seems to be some grey areas.

    For example, I could find nothing in Google's policy about vintage ads and songs that may contain double meaning headlines, imagery, and lyrics that one could take to be sexually suggestive. A lot of blues songs from the '20s and '30s, for example, fall into this category. And yet, if a child were to hear them they probably wouldn't get the meaning. ("Sam the Hot Dog Man", for all intent and purposes, is a song about a man selling hotdogs, after all.) I'm sure we've also all seen the old Chiquita advertisement where a little boy is feeding a banana to a little girl. Would I not be allowed to show this ad on Go Retro? It's kind of hard to prove there's anything sinister behind it for real; it's for Chiquita, after all!

    What about clips from The Benny Hill Show? What about sitcoms that tackled controversial adult topics, such as the infamous abortion episode of Maude?

    Tonight I deleted the album cover that Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass did with the woman strategically covered in whipped cream from an old post on the band. According to Google's adult content policies, even nudity that is strategically covered is a no-no. They already flagged me a year or two ago for the pantyhose post I did about 7 years ago. It was because one of the images I used showed a topless woman that was covering herself up by crossing her arms in front of her.

    I get that Google wants its publishers to be squeaky clean for its advertisers. I have no problem with that. But I think some rules may be just a tad strict. The irony is any kid can go on Google of all places and within three seconds, instantly find images of nudity, pornography, and other adult content. The chances of someone finding anything even remotely close to that on Go Retro is pretty slim.

    All this to say, if you go looking through Go Retro and can't find a post that the "you may also like" widget is recommending to you...well, this is the reason why. And I'm also in the process of scrubbing anything that might raise another red flag. I've written the contact person from the ad network and asked them questions about the gray areas. In the meantime, at least Facebook doesn't have these same policies...yet. So images that might get me into trouble here are OK for me to share there.

    I think I'll start by digging up that old Chiquita ad...


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    Valentine's Day is upon us, and its a safe bet that after the holiday tens of thousands of Americans will be newly engaged. And it's a sure bet that an awful lot of these brides and grooms-to-be will end up spending an exorbitant amount of money on the ceremony and reception. Weddings in America have turned into lavish, showy (and show-offish) affairs, especially when compared to weddings of past decades.

    A couple of weeks ago I clicked on an article on MSN called "7 Things That Americans Waste Their Money On." Not surprisingly, item number seven was weddings. The average cost of a wedding today in the States is $26,645. Let's let that figure sink in a moment and do some comparison shopping. The Vince Lombardi trophy, made annually by Tiffany and Co., is worth $25,000. When I looked at gently used Audi A4s the other night online (just for kicks), most of the ones listed that were a few years old with modest mileage were priced around $25K.

    $26,645 is also enough to put a down payment on a mortgage and buy yourself a decent living room set, or at least a nice sofa. In fact, in that article I cited, one of the comments left was by a man that attended a wedding of two 20-somethings. The bride revealed that she and her new husband had very little saved for a home, but she was hoping her retired dad (who paid for the wedding) would help her out with that, too. 

    Sigh. Millennials. 

    OK, with all fairness the rise of the bridezilla started taking place a good twenty years ago, if not more...so it's not just Millennials that have expected a royal wedding-type affair but people from my generation as well. The question is, why? Why waste all of that money on an over-the-top day that few people are going to ultimately remember, except for the couple getting hitched?


    The photo above is of my parents on their wedding day -- February 1, 1946. As you can see, my mother didn't wear a bridal gown; she wore her best dress and a fur jacket. My father never gave her an engagement ring. She decided she really didn't want one, when she knew the money would be best served in a savings account to pay for a place to live (decades later, she got a tiny diamond on one of their anniversaries.) Speaking of which, my parents actually lived in a converted chicken coop for a short while on my grandparents' farm while my father went to work and saved money.

    That was how it was for a lot of these past generations; they had more common sense when it came to saving and spending. They also weren't so selfish; they were grateful for what they had. 

    It used to be that couples would have their receptions in the church basement, or at a local restaurant or the VFW.  Even celebrities kept their nuptials low-key back in the day. When Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward exchanged vows in 1958, it was at a wedding chapel in Vegas. Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at Marylebone Register Office in 1969, and the bride wore a belted yellow coat. One of the reasons for these underwhelming settings were to thwart the media and fans and keep the event more private (not that it worked judging by the throngs of weepy female fans that showed up that day, upset that they were not the one Paul chosen.) 

    When Celine Dion married René Angélil in 1994, however, the wedding was as melodramatic as one of Dion's power love ballads: it featured a massive wedding "cake" comprised of over 2,600 French profiterole (or cream puffs), a seven pound headpiece made of Austrian crystals, real white doves, and artificial snowflakes.

    A lot of other celebrity couples seemed to have over-the-top weddings in the '90s. I'm not sure if that's what started to drive the expensive wedding phenomenon, but personally I do think it's possible to spend way too much on an article of clothing that you're only going to wear one day out of your life and never again. Thus came the rise of wedding planners an numerous wedding magazines and websites, all revolved around making your special day as perfect as possible.

    Don't get me wrong--I have nothing against people spending and enjoying money, particularly if they actually have it. However, it seems to me that too many young couples are spending a fortune on their weddings when they don't have it. A lot of people would be better off if they tried to curb the expenses and socked that cash away for a downpayment on a starter home instead.

    I guess the question is, why? Is it because they're selfish, spoiled, and/or have low self esteem issues where they feel some need to show off a bit? Sadly, some couples also expect guests and members of their wedding party to spend a fortune because of their selfishness, whether they can afford it or not. Thus, we've seen the rise of the destination wedding in recent decades, where couples get married on a tropical beach or another exotic locale. Not only is this expensive for the wedding party, but a bit of an inconvenience as well -- they're being forced to take a vacation whether it works with their schedule or not.


    Another thing I've noticed...the numerous amount of bridesmaids. It used to be a bride would have a maid of honor or maybe a couple of bridesmaids; now she usually has a throng of her besties wearing an ensemble that will most likely never see the outside of their closet again. 

    The irony is that the most memorable weddings I have been to were the ones where it was obvious the couple did not spend a ton of money on the reception. Thus, these celebrations had their own unique touches whereas the ones I've been to (and one where I was part of the wedding party) that were thrown at local country clubs and involved expensive bridal gowns all kind of blur together for me as nearly one collective memory. 

    When a neighbor's daughter was married about ten years ago, the reception was held in the sun-drenched rotunda room attached to their parish. It was simple, yet beautiful -- they had also hired a guitarist to perform during the ceremony. The last wedding I went to was a high school friend's; she wore a gorgeous bargain dress that she found at Filene's Basement in Boston, when they used to have their infamous wedding dress sale and her ceremony took place in a new modern chapel at her alma mater. The reception was held at a notable restaurant in Chinatown; it was a ten course meal, so that probably didn't come cheap, but overall it was a beautiful celebration that didn't go over the top (unless you count her cousin that impersonated Elvis and serenaded the couple on the dance floor.)

    I'm not saying that people should hire a justice of the peace, order some pizza, and call it a day, either. I believe in a happy medium, and maybe looking for ways to save money on certain areas (such as the dress or the reception venue) instead of blowing a fortune on what's only one day out of your entire lives.

    Just don't lose sight of the real reason you're getting married in the first place.

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