"The mark of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time" - F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Baby Boomer Blog - The Latest Entries
This is the second and third years of Jeff's "Baby Boomer" Blog, which is intended to be an endless ramble about all things historical and nostalgic. Having grown up in Ohio's Ashland County, much of it relates to that area during the 1950's and 60's. I will add to it as things occur to me and it will for the most part be completely disorganized. I find the basic tendency to wax nostalgic an interesting one and am starting to get a handle on why it is so appealing, at least in my case. For me much of the attraction is that childhood was a time when the world seemed limitless and exciting.
The Blog has a new organizational style for 2014, relying entirely on subpages; some with a brief teaser on this page (see below) and others just part of the list in the upper left of the page. Some of these subpages will even have their own subpages. The entries way back in 2013 can be viewed on their original pages (those links are in the box at the top center of this page).
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments you wish to add to the comment section or with requests to remove (or properly credit) a borrowed image. Spelling corrections are also welcome.
The mother of stupidity is always pregnant
16 February 20151936 Great Lakes Exposition
OK, you got me. What does an event from 1936 have to do with Baby Boomers? We were not even a gleam in our fathers' eye - although my father was 15 in 1936 and on occasion probably had a gleam in his eye. I include it because I just found some stuff about it and it was an interesting but long forgotten event. I'll justify it by saying that during my childhood trips to see the Indians play at Municipal Stadium I had occasion to wonder about the huge paved parking lot stretching out to the East from the center field gate, seeming to run for several miles along the shore of Lake Erie; and the odd little park outside the left field side of the structure. Now the old stadium is gone and the Science Center stands on that parking lot, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame occupying the area in the distance. What I did not know back then was that this huge stretch of asphalt had been the site of a large regional exposition less than two decades before I was born. I do recall a small historical marker about this in the old parking lot but otherwise there was no tangible indication of the location's relatively recent history.
Click here for more:
11 February 2015
24 January 2015
1959 Topps Hal Woodeshick #106
"Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks, the Hall of Fame slugger and two-time MVP who never lost his boundless enthusiasm for baseball despite years of playing on losing Cubs teams, died Friday night.
Greeted with this headline today I found myself flashing back 55 years to my salient Ernie Banks moment.
Card #350 - a disappointing 3rd Place in the 1959 Duff Drive baseball card draft.
In our Ashland neighborhood, baseball and football card collecting first arrived in a big way during the summer of 1959, when most of us were eight and nine years old. 1959 was the third summer for most of us in the neighborhood - the streets had been developed in 1955-56 and most families moved in at that time. Why this hobby did not hit us in 1957 or 1958 I do not know, why it hit so big in 1959 was probably just a need to first attain a critical mass. Little did we know at the time that by a bit of life's serendipity the 1959 baseball cards were destined to become the most important and lasting images of our youth. In those days Topps released cards by series, with the lower number cards released in the spring and the higher numbers released gradually during the course of the season. Our collecting did not take off until summer and by that point the stores had sold their supply of boxes containing low number cards. So all of us had a good supply of high number cards, some middle number cards, and just a handful of low number cards.
For more about our 1959 baseball card collecting adventures and the significance of Hal Woodeshick click the above link.
18 January 2015
It's Rex Manning Day!
I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two
Lying awake intent at tuning in on you
If I was young it didn't stop you coming through
They took the credit for your second symphonyAnd now we meet in an abandoned studio
Rewritten by machine and new technology
and now I understand the problems you can see
I met your children
What did you tell them?
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Pictures came and broke your heart
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the jingles used to go
You were the first one
You were the last one
In my mind and in my car
We can't rewind we've gone to far
"Buggles group member Trevor Horn has said that his lyrics were inspired by the J.G. Ballard short story The Sound-Sweep, in which the title character, a mute boy vacuuming up stray music in a world without it, comes upon an opera singer hiding in a sewer.
He also felt "an era was about to pass." The theme of the song is thus nostalgia, which is also echoed in the tone of the music. The lyrics refer to a period of technological change in the 1960s, the desire to remember the past and the disappointment that children of the current generation would not appreciate the past. In the 1950s and early 1960s, radio was an important medium for many, through which "stars" were created."
The Sound-Sweep was first published in Science Fantasy, Volume 13, Number 39, February 1960
“The Sound-Sweep,” J. G. Ballard, 1960 — Ultrasonic music is the new fashion and phonographs and live performances are a thing of the past. It is a world where the echoes of music remain in their concert halls, where conversations are preserved in the walls and floors, and “sound sweeps” use sonovacs to clean up the past, often at the request of those fearing blackmail or noise pollution. Madame Gioconda, the aging and discarded opera star, and Mangon, a mute “sound sweep” enjoy an unlikely friendship, one Mangon desperately hopes is real, as he loves the decaying but once magnificent diva. When Gioconda finds a way for Mangon to help her reclaim her fame through a comeback performance, Mangon feels the depth of her trust in him and suddenly regains his voice. The night before her comeback, a rival asks Mangon to “sound sweep” her during the performance for her own good, as she doesn’t realize that her voice has lost its beauty. Mangon refuses, still loyal, and tries to reach her, but she has packed up her apartment and abandoned him in anticipation of her impending success. A brutal message of sound has been left in the wall for him to “read”: “GO AWAY YOU UGLY CHILD! NEVER TRY TO SEE ME AGAIN!” Mangon attends her performance as planned, but he destroys his sonovac so that her caterwalling will be heard by all.
If you got the Rex Manning Day reference you are probably a boomer in spirit who like me connected deeply with Alan Moyle's "Empire Records". Although a 1995 film it evokes certain flower child values and a childlike wish that such a place existed. "Video Killed the Radio Star" plays as the store employees prepare for the arrival of music video personality Rex Manning.
11 January 2015
"Thunderball" was released in late 1965, so it is (amazingly) approaching its 50th anniversary. I had seen all the Bond movies and read all the books at this point. This is my favorite image from the franchise and probably led to my decision to purchase a BSA Lightning a few years later - without the RPG tubes on the fairing.
Luciana Paluzzi was born on June 10, 1937 in Rome, Lazio, Italy and was a serious actress despite often being cast in this sort of fluff. But she is hands down my favorite Bond Girl; red hair - bad girl - leather, what's not to like? See more Luciana photos here:
1 January 2015
The inspiration for starting this site two years ago was the death of Bonnie Fields, my childhood crush on the Mickey Mouse Club. With the passing of 2014 it seems appropriate to feature those baby boomer related celebrities who we lost since last New Year's Day. For more Bonnie stuff click the U-Tube link to see Bonnie's first appearance on Talent Round-Up Day or go to the 2013 blog entries and scroll down to the first entry in January 2013.
Don was not a baby boomer but his voice has been a part of our television viewing since we first tuned in to those black & white sets and clicked around between the three available channels.
"In Memorian" is continued on this page:
29 December 2014
A Page About Ashland Ohio Schools
Ashland High School traditionally showcases a student production of a Broadway musical each spring, in McDowell Auditorium which is slated to be torn down with the Junior High School next year. I have listed the ones that were offered during my school days as best that I can recall and find in old yearbooks. These were extremely well done for student productions, with enough of a budget so that the production design was top notch. They opened with an afternoon matinee for students and then gave several evening performances for the general public. I believe that the first one I attended was "Oklahoma" when I was in fifth grade; I recall actual specifics from that performance and have no such recollections for the 1959 and 1960 productions. I had been unimpressed by the "Music Man" film and passed on attending the stage production in 8th grade, as I recall even students had to purchase tickets if they wanted to attend, if you didn't go you marked time in study hall. Most kids went and it says something about my willful 8th grade personality that I chose not to attend.
1959 - Annie Get You Gun
1960 - The King & I
1961 - Oklahoma
1962 - Brigadoon
1963 - South Pacific
1964 - The Music Man
1965 - The Sound of Music
1966 - My Fair Lady
1967 - The Unsinkable Molly Brown
1968 - Camelot
(click on the above link for some "AHS" photos)
24 December 2014
For no reason other than the season (I assume) this song has been running through my head all day. I was not sure of the entire song or where I heard it but it turns out that Doris Day released it 50 years ago, and it turns out that my memory of the lyrics was amazingly accurate.
Music: Victor Herbert
When you've grown up, my dears,
When you've grown up, my dears,
Herbert was long gone before us baby boomers were even born but Disney brought some of his music to us in their 1961 "Babes In Toyland" movie.
9 December 2014
Yesterday the Ohio Senate passed a bill legalizing the use of bottle rockets, firecrackers and other consumer-grade fireworks in Ohio despite hearing earlier in the day from doctors, firefighters and safety advocates who oppose the measure.
Some were concerned by testimony from doctors and safety advocates about the dangers of fireworks.
The bill's opponents said about half of all those injured by fireworks
are bystanders who did not choose to set off the explosives.It is a first-degree misdemeanor for unlicensed individuals to
discharge fireworks in Ohio or to possess the goods after they should
have been taken out of the state. First-time offenders face fines up to
$1,000 and six months in jail.
Senate President Keith Faber, a Celina Republican, said fireworks regulation has evolved over the years and the bill ensures only "regulated, approved" fireworks will be allowed in Ohio. The bill also allows counties and townships to ban the fireworks or restrict dates and times when fireworks could be set off. "We're all for safety but we also want to make sure that we give personal liberty an option as well," Faber told reporters after the vote.
I only mention this because it means that my two biggest childhood wishes have come true, although in this case too late for me to get maximum enjoyment. The two things I wanted most of all in 1960 was my own private collection of movies (complete with screening equipment) and for Ohio to legalize fireworks. I got my first wish years ago with the introduction of Beta and VHS tapes. To learn about a fairly typical Ohio baby boomer's fireworks history click on this link:
22 November 2014
Penny (Gloria Winters) passed away in 2010 at age 78. She was not really a baby boomer but was certainly a fixture of our television viewing. I have to agree with this U-Tube comment although I don't recall it being that noticeable until Yvonne Craig appeared as Batgirl.
"Penny was bound and gagged in a number of Sky King episodes. Television drama shows in the 1950s often depicted people tied up .... I suspect many of the writers on these shows were bondage lovers..."
2 November 2014
I never owned a Schwinn Mark II Jaguar, pictured on this 1957 Dell comic book back cover. I put it on here as a shameless plug for the bicycle write-up on the pages of my 2013 blog, click "here" and then scroll down to the February 5, 2013 entry. My Schwinn Traveler was simply a stripped down version of this 1957 Jaguar with even more flashy chrome and the same performance issues - namely too heavy for any normal purpose other than riding on cinder paths where it was more stable than a lighter bike with narrow tires. And there were a lot more cinder paths sixty years ago than there are today because home furnaces and factories burned coal. Schwinn had reached their dominance with the baby boomer generation by marketing rather than by engineering. But say what you will about the company their bikes were a good value simply because of their durability, baby boomers grew out of their Schwinn - they never wore out their Schwinn.
This great ad is from a 1960 comic, the bike is basically a girls' version of my Schwinn Traveler with the same medium size tires and the chrome fenders; and probably the same price my father paid to put me in the rider's seat. It was an amazing amount of money for him to spend on me, I think it was a birthday present when I turned eleven, as I recall riding it to both Osborn and to the Junior High School. Note the green logo highlight on the grips - the Traveler grips had this in red, it was a prestige thing as the less expensive models did not highlight the molded Schwinn logo.
I don't recall any girls in our school owning one of these "Fair Ladies" which probably meant there were none as the similarities would have made it memorable to me. In our town girls were not big bike riders, especially after age ten, although it was a girl who first taught me how to ride a bicycle and I learned on hers - learning to ride was much easier on a girls' bike because they were much easier to step off. The "American Picker" guys say that girls' bikes are worth less than boys' bikes because the girls took better care of them although it would seem to me that the production runs for the girls' models must have been much lower than for the boys.
29 October 2014
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7 July 2014
My Readjustment Blues In Greensboro
I spent last Friday in Kentucky, and the 4th of July celebration in Bowling Green got me thinking of how it has been 39 years since I spent the summer in Greensboro, North Carolina (including July 4th 1975), sharing the second floor of a house on Mendenhall Street between the two colleges and taking Macroeconomics & Sociology 101. I had driven down from New York (I had been discharged that January and had spent the spring semester at Cornell) and I found a notice in the student union from two guys needing someone to rent their 3rd bedroom for the summer. Amazingly the house had no air conditioning and we had no television set; we just kept the windows open, fans blowing, and the stereo playing Jethro Tull and Elton John. The house backed up on a Greensboro College dorm (#7 on the attached map) and I spent a lot of my time in their lounge, which was far cooler than our house and had a television set. I just acted like I belonged there and took books with me to study, nobody questioned my hanging around.
This was the summer when I sold the old 190SL Mercedes that took Ashland friend Brian Linke and I around
Europe in 1974 (well technically just France, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland). I had an ad in Road & Track magazine but ended up
selling it to a milkman in Greensboro after I listed it in the
Greensboro paper. So if you see a right-hand drive Mercedes cruising
around North Carolina, it very likely is the one I brought back from England. Interestingly, with Brian staying on my tiny base in Bedfordshire England, we had three guys who had been roaming around Ashland Junior High School just a few years earlier; as Marc Robbins was also assigned there.
20 June 2014
14 May 2014
It's A Daisy
21 March 2014:
My Radio Flyer was a "Rex Jet"
9 February 2014:
Fifty years ago today,
on Feb. 9, 1964, via “The Ed Sullivan Show,” America met the Beatles.
The Beatles would have happened here whether they played “The Ed Sullivan Show” or not. Indeed, for many the only reason the show is remembered is that the Beatles were on it, but they might not have happened so explosively, so definitively, so fast. Their first appearance on the show, which they opened and closed, was estimated to have been seen by a record-breaking 73 million viewers, or one in three Americans, and they appeared the next week as well, remote from Miami Beach, and the week after that, on videotape.
Not everyone who watched was converted, of course. If they were relatively friendly revolutionaries, with their pressed suits and bemused grins, professional politesse and malt-shop lyrics, they were revolutionaries nonetheless. Their energy was fearsome, their wit sharp and their hair, by local standards, was for some confusingly long.
Click this link for more pages of this story:
29 January 2014:
Little Rita Rosebud
If you search for "Little Rita Rosebud" on the internet, this is the only link other than a comic book character index. Think about the implications of that, it means out of the billions of people on the planet I am the only one with enough interest in the story (my all-time favorite) and in the internet to post something about this material, the reinforcement of our uniqueness is perhaps the most significant thing about the internet. Jeff is weird!
Click this link for more pages of this story:
26 January 2014: Brewster McCloud
This has been on my list of top ten films since I first saw it 40+ years ago. It withholds at lot from the initial viewing and you discover something new each time you watch it.
The film has references to other films, Altman's own work, and other places. Altman refers to Bullitt (1969) by including a character named Frank Shaft, who is a detective from San Francisco. The name may have inspired the name of Richard Roundtree's "John Shaft" character, in a more subtle parody from 1971 ("he just took my man Leroy and threw him out the God damn window").
Homages to The Wizard of Oz (1939) have been noted in the film, as Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, is the music conductor seen during the opening credits. She is seen wearing ruby slippers in the film. Hope (Jennifer Salt) who supplies Brewster with health food, resembles Dorothy, as she wears a distinctive gingham dress, has pigtails and carries a basket. At the end of the film, she is shown in the cast as Dorothy carrying Toto.
Shelley Duvall (below) plays a Raggedy Ann airhead character (without Luna Lovegood's redeeming qualities) and actually appears as a Raggedy Ann clown in the final scene.
The coolest of all the images from the 60's-70's, this one was right in the middle of that period as Altman's film was made in 1970, just after he made "MASH".
Click above for full review.
22 January 2014: Harper Valley P.T.A.
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12 January 2014: "Back On That Old Bipolar Pony"
Evan's "King of California" character actually says: "Time to get on that old bipolar pony and ride"; which seems an appropriate ("polar" duh) title for a discussion of greenhouses and of global warming, as well as a nice title for my first blog entry of the new year. So click on this link and prepare to be both informed and entertained:
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