Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My library, where I like to think, read, ponder and create.

I have since the 1980's a library. I have moved three times in the last 12 years and now I am in my third library. I love to have books around me. I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands. I have always and hope always I feel that way.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A few pieces of art by Hyun Mu Shin. 1999-2001

                                                    Hyun Mu Shin

I thought it would be nice to show a few pieces of art done by Shin.  It is nice to see them after not seeing them for a long time. He had his own style, and it was unique. Perhaps as unique as he. So I will just add these pictures without comment. For that is better to tell his story.

A few mementos of the American Freedom Train in 1976 that I saved when I saw it in 1976.

The American Freedom Train was a big part of the 200th birthday celebration of American Independence. It traveled from coast to coast and had everything in it about American history that you could imagine.  Everything was there from the documents dealing with the Louisiana Purchase, Martin Luther King's pulpit, Jack Benny's violin, a moon rock, and about 1000 other items. It had a moving sidewalk within it and that made you move through it far faster than one would like too. But I was there in Morris Plains, even though the ticket said Morristown, to see this great part of the bicentennial.  

I had gone with some friends 2 days before to see the train come in and sadly it was 4 hours late. We brought a case of beer for us all and we consumed it. So it was up to the one light drinker to get us back. For the rest of us were feeling no pain.  We spent 6 hours at that railroad crossing. Even though later I would see the train, I would never see it moving. But it was a big event, So everyone wanted to see it.

On July 25, I went there with some friends and we saw it all. It was parked on the grounds of the Warner Lambert company of Morris Plains. I bought a ticket and a souvenir booklet. Which I packed away and just recently found. So nearly 37 years after the event I can share a little of it. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A rare piece of mail from the last voyage of the airship Hindenburg

 This letter was dropped off three days before this happened to the Hindenburg in Lakehurst, NJ. On May 6, 1937.

There are rare pieces of this and that around the world. But mail from the Hindenburg on it's last voyage is not common at all.  There was a stop on the final crossing to drop off mail at Cologne was there that a large number of letters were dropped and sent on their way. The Hindenburg stopped there at night, so there are no photographs. 

But there are letters that show that she was there. The mail in most cases was taken to the Hindenburg and stamped by her post office on May 1, 1937. Then as she was ready for her trip to Lakehurst she made one mail stop. From that stop comes this rare letter.  You will see on the front all the various stamps and postal markings, including the Hindenburg's 

On the back of the letter is the receiving date of May 3 1937.  In just three days after this drop off, the Hindenburg would crash and burn in Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Truly a rare piece of history.

Here is the envelope from the Hindenburg's drop on May 3rd 1937.  Note the Hindenburg's stamp marked on the first of May.

The marking of arrival and dated. Evening May 3, 1937 on the back of the envelope.

As she looked at the beginning of the voyage on May 3, 1937

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I have been collecting early recordings for a very long time....An early moment in my career as a collector, captured on film.

I started collecting old records in 1969. I acquired my first old record in my school in Florida.  I have written about it in this blog. (type in phonograph record 1969 to read it.) By 1972 I had around 100 records from 1908 to the 1950's. The records were easy to find and I took every one I could get.  In 1972 the 78 record was still rather common. They had been made till the early 1960's. But my acquiring that first record in January of 1969 set my stars on finding some of the earlier and odder ones.

It was at this time I got to meet a lady named  Nancy, who had an antique shop in Rockaway, New Jersey. I started to haunt her shop and chat with her. I even started to work for her as a kid, in the summer of 1972, I worked for her and made one dollar a day.  She was a kind of hippy of the time. She had done time for performing abortions and had a reputation in town. I did not care what she had done, I thought she was fun. That's all that mattered to me.

 But by the spring of 1972 she would take me for rides in her Mustang convertible. On one joy ride we went to something called "The Pinebrook Auction". It has not operated since the mid 1970's, so it is long forgotten. But while I was there I bought one record. It cost me fifty cents. I was attracted by the color of the record and its fancy label.

It was a Aeolion Vocalion disc record. But the record itself was reddish-brown in color.  The songs on the record  were the Rosary and Drink to me only with thine eyes. I was pretty taken with that record and kept it as a very valuable part of my collection. I liked it so much, that I happened to be holding it when my mother decided to take a few pictures of me and my sisters.

I was under the mistaken belief that this record was very valuable. I had never seen one before. Of course jump up 40 years and I have seen too many of them. But in the spring and summer of 1972, it was my treasure.

 Just recently I found this picture. I remembered the record, and what's more, I still had it. So 41 years ago this month I posed with that record. I have saved it as I have my first record cause it has a great memory.

A memory of times long past, and the fun and somewhat crazy Nancy. Her 1965 Mustang I will always remember. It was first moment of freedom and going beyond the borders of my very narrow existence in my life..

Me and my sisters in May of 1972

I am holding that record of which I was so proud.

That record I bought at the Pinebrook Auction 41 years ago this month

My first record that I got at school in a deal for some pictures in January 1969 that started it all.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

SEX and Victorians

We are not amused, oh but I think you were.......

For so long we have heard of the repressed and shuttered sexuality of Victorians. While on the face of this statement there may seem to be some truth. But if you dig beyond this facade you will see something far different.

While it was the norm for households to put skirts on piano legs (cause they were deemed too obsene to place before proper people). The world beyond piano leg skirts was anything but shuttered. There were more houses of ill-repute (whore houses) during the Victorian age than any other.

 In Washington DC in the 1850's there were so many house of ill-repute that they were among the most successful businesses in the Capital. During the Lincoln Administration they boomed. There were soldiers all over and many politicians. Even Lincoln's secretary would visit the areas.

In New York City in the 19th century there were a massive amount of Opium Houses in the area to be called in time China Town. Here people could smoke and get high and often then go to one of the local Chinese houses of ill-repute.

London and many other international cities were much the same, prostitution was all over. There were places all over in the cities for vice and wild times. The Victorian age was noted for the Monarch who reigned for 63 plus years. While she was the model of Victorian propriety, even she had her flings with her horseman, Mr Brown.

There were many sex manuals, lewd art, photos,and more available during this time. There was a covering of the proper Victorian, but take off the cover and it was as it had been and would always be. The Victorians always were as sexual as any other group in history. The American Civil War was during the growing strength of the Victorian era.  How many stories and booklets were made about how the living room couch was a great place to have a wild time, rather than the bedroom.

It was also a time when technology and science tried to enter the bedroom with improvement and controls for sexual nature. There were some really sick devices designed to curtail masturbation, give strength to the sexual organs with electricity, and improvements on various condoms, and female friendly devices.

So when I see about the repressed Victorians...Yes there were some, but there were also many who were not of that ilk.  Just like today, you will still find people who fit the mode as Victorians, and many who do not.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

A 1907 five dollar bill. Not only has inflation shrunk it's value, but look at it's size!

8 Inches wide!!

These bills were nearly 8 inches in width. Compared to the dollars of today they are giants. This bill is from 1907. There was no Federal Reserve, but there was a panic that year. We don't use that word anymore. The government having a financial panic sounds far too awful. So we call them recessions. Sounds safer, doesn't it?

But within 6 years of this bills printing the Federal Reserve would be born. In 1929 the size of the bills would be changed and oddly in that year the value of that money dropped.

But this is an late example of the Greenback bill put through by the Lincoln Administration. On the front side of this bill it states the act of March 3rd 1863. That was the Lincoln Greenback Bill.  As you can see also, Andrew Jackson graced the 5 dollar bill. Soon he would be replaced by the person who issued the Greenback Bill in the first place...Abraham Lincoln

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Titanic II.....why? Do you think they can recreate the feeling of the old ship?

Well, it has been said,  that the Titanic II is coming to a harbor near you in 2016.  

Clive Palmer is paying for it. But why? What will we get out of this? There is in our imaginations a special place for the Titanic. We know what it was like or do we? Well they cannot make the ship like it was in 1912 for a whole host of issues. I fear people do not realize what it was like 100 years ago in shipping.

You will not want to live in a ship that is designed like it was in 1912. The rooms mainly were small, no bathrooms in the stateroom and bathtub and shower facilities are down the hall.

The new Titanic, if it is ever built, and I have my doubts. Will be a modern ship trying to look old. The effect will be pretty much ruined for many when they hear their first rap concert, or rock and roll event on the Titanic. No one will be dressed as they were back then. WiFi will be all over, Jeans and Tee shirts will be the uniform of choice. No pool for the people on deck? Of course there will be. Cause who will want to go on a ship that mimics the joys of a 1912 voyage. Even the people who they would like that will quickly sour on the lack of modern joys.  

Will people be able to smoke in the smoking room?  This room will be like it was, a room with dark woods and heavy chairs. A very manly room...I cannot envision the room full of wonderful cigar smoke. The anti smoking crowd will stop the smoking in the Smoking Room. 

I would hope it would have a well stocked library. That was the major thing to do on the Titanic. It was to read and eat. So the libraries were busy places.

I kind of think of the Titanic II (if it is ever built) As a kind of a modern version of the Great Eastern. It will sail for 3 years till the fascination really runs dry. It may happen 2 years earlier too and then become a white elephant with no real purpose or use. 

Otherwise being a ship that cannot recreate the fantasies of those, who think they are entering an enchanted land of their imaginary idea, of what the Titanic was.

Cute idea, but will it really happen? I think this idea has already hit an iceberg....