Thursday, April 22, 2010

Amish Paradise...a Hoarder Of Awesome afternoon roadtrip

Shipshewana, Indiana is a strange place. It's a tiny little town near the Michigan/Indiana border. It's a famous tourist destination because of it's dense Amish/Mennonite population. I find it a pretty eerie place. I guess you'll have that with an ultra-religious town populated by nobody but Amish and cranky old Republicans(not to get too political on y'all), full of tourist attractions for the 70-plus crowd, but with a big stinky loud livestock feed mill smack in middle of everything, making the whole town dusty and smell like vaguely like dog chow. If you've ever seen the Documentary "Devil's Playground", it was filmed here and in neighboring LaGrange. Anyway, besides being a strange place to visit, it's also got some top notch antiques. Not the cheapest place to pick up goodies, but since the average antique shopper in the area is 300 years old, it seems that the cooler things are amongst the cheapest...and that, along with their fantastic candy store, keeps me coming back relatively regularly.

On the way there, yesterday, I planned on taking pictures of some of the sights, but somehow I missed the junkyard with the VW Beetle wall, and this REALLY cool California style, Eichler-ish atomic ranch house, and we took a different way back, so I didn't get a second chance on the way home...oh well, next time. I did get one cool photo from the car. This Depression-era gas station-turned tire shop still has the original porcelain Mobil oil Pegasus sign. I can't believe nobody's stolen it/offered so much money they caved and sold it. It's one of those things that I really want, that I'll never one of those huge fiberglass Big Boy mascots.

We were in a hurry on the way to Shipshewana, since everything closes at like 5pm(thanks a lot, old people), and I generally wake up at 2...and it's almost an hour drive. Not a big window for antiquing. We were in such a hurry, we flew past this big old ex-auto repair shop-turned storage building with a bunch of knick knacks in the window, and a garage sale sign, between LaGrange and Shipshewana. About a mile down the road we decided we'd better turn around and check it out. Good thing! The place was PACKED with old junk. We bought a ton of stuff, and everything was $1 a piece. I think it's because the old guy there liked us. He joked around with us for a while and even showed me the 1953 Studebaker hot rod he was building in the back. We left with armloads of nifty stuff...some of which I'm saving for later posts. One cool thing I got(actually, these were 50 cents for all of 'em, not $1), were these business cards from the Merry Mouse Stage Bar in Cleveland, Ohio. I looked up the addresses on the card on Google maps, and it looks like both buildings are long gone. I wonder if that's thee Cliff Edwards, the vaudevillian jazz singer, who voiced Jimminy Cricket. since he was on the club circuit in the 40's and 50's, I have reason to believe it is.

I looked around a little on the internet for formation on the Merry Mouse, and this is all I ad from the Cleveland Press, 1948. One thing is for certain, and that is the swankiness of the club.

This patch was in the same box with the cards...I think I got this one for free. I don't have much else to say about it, other than it's neat.

This strange donkey ash tray is one of my favorite finds in the barn. readers of the ever phenomenal Gonked, Glooked, and Slurped blog are probably familiar with the worry bird cousin of this guy...

seen here. doubt from the same manufacturer(T.C. USA?). This guy seems to be WAY more enthusiastic about receiving a hot load of ash in his ass, than the bird does.

Here's the other side. It reminds me a little of Jack Davis' Marx "Nutty Mads" figurines from the 60's.

This plastic-painted-to-look-like-wood poodle is from Hong Kong. I don't know who the manufacturer is, because that part of the tag is damaged, but I don't think that would help. Looking on Ebay, I found a few of these, and they all seem to say different things on the bottom. At least 3 different companies were importing these from Hong Kong in, I'm guessing, the early 60's, all with their own tags. I have a matching dinosaur one, and they made a squirrel too...probably other animals as well.

We made it to Shipshewana with time to spare, but we were pretty spent from playing "American Pickers" in that barn, so we ended up not buying anything at the antique mall. We did, however, get enough candy at the candy shoppe to give us both diabetes 7 times over.

We headed home taking an alternate route, so I could hit the usually fantastic Goodwill in Sturgis, MI. Glad I did, because I scored these fantastic trashy shellacked wood Elvis masterpieces! I also got a really clean 7" of Shaun Cassidy's "That's Rock 'n' Roll"...Ha!

On the way home, we drove past this old folks home that always has 5 or 6 people sitting outside in Eames arm shell chairs. I always hope they'll be on the side of the road with a 'free' sign. The chairs, not the old people.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Quick One, While He's Away

Well, shit. My computer is dead. This sucks for a plethora of reasons...a minor one being a total lack of spell check(which, for me,is a necessity)...but I didn't wanna leave you guys hangin' indefinitely, so really quick...

Melanie's birthday was last week. I made her this atomic expressionist googie painting. Se dug it. It's supposed to be the scene inside a 50's night club, but super abstract....did I mention that I'm super drunk right now, and typing on a strange keyboard? I think these factors should be laid out before I go on....

This is a neat chalkware piece from Miller Studio Inc. circa 1970. I have several Miller pieces,but I'm not in the right frame of mind to delve any deeper at the moment. Anyway, I found this at a local antique store, and I spent a fair amount of time fixing it up, and cutting down a note pad to replace the old one......I think it's really neat. Blah...that's it. I saw Useless Children(aus) and Fascist Beauties(Chi) tonight in Kalamazoo..hence the drunkeness...both bands were REALLY Killer, and you should check 'em out if they come to your area.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Raiding Dad's Stash pt Deux: Sniffin' Glue

Well, hell. I took a bunch of pictures of model cars my dad and my uncles built back in the late 50s and 60s, and my crap camera won't let me take pictures close enough to see detail. Everything looks fuzzy. I'll have to ask one of my photographer friends to help me I models have joined my Hot Wheels collection on the back burner for now. Thankfully, I have a scanner, so here's some neat model car box art, mostly from 1960-62. I have some of the accompanying cars, other boxes are empty or fulla parts. I found these in a leaky barn after my grandma died, and I'm really surprised they survived in such an environment as long as they did.

This first box is for the '36 ford 3n1 kit. This is the side of the box, because the front just shows the boring stock version. I have 2 of these boxes, and one and a half of the models. Both models were built as a hybrid of the 2 styles shown here, and both were painted blue. I assume one belonged to my dad, and the other to my uncle Christopher. Oh yeah, as always, you can click the picture for a better look.

This is the 40 Ford. The box is in great shape, and the graphics are killer. I have at least 5 of these in different stages of decay, but only one box. When my grandma died, there was model car stuff scattered EVERYWHERE(she had 4 sons that ALL built models!). Nothing was in order. I've spent time here and there over the years trying to sort what I have, but that's literally hundreds of thousands of mismatched parts. I'd like to restore some of these some day. Luckily, a lot of these got reissued over time, so restoring some, like the 40 Fords, wouldn't be to hard. Unluckily, the prices on new model cars are OUTRAGEOUS!

Here's a detail from the side, showing the totally bitchin' racing version.

The hot rod option on this 32 Ford Roadster is really killer... is the racing version. I wish I had enough spare parts for this one. I only have a smashed to hell body, the windshield and one stock rear fender. Bummer.

I love how the hot rod version to almost every kit back then was just flame decals and moon discs. This kit is from the transitional period when competitors AMT(aluminum model toys) and SMP(scale model products...inventors of the 3 in 1 kit) were merging into one company. I have the body of this, and a 59 El Camino reissue, which I'm considering merging into one, one of these days.

I've got a lot of parts to this kit. So many, that I was starting a rebuild, but while doing a research, I found out that this version of this kit just got re-issued a couple weeks ago, so I'll probably just buy a new one when car show season starts in May.

Here's the side detail, showing some of the many possible combinations you can build with the available parts.

Well...there ya go. Not too informative, and I'm sure to my non-car crazed readers, probably rather dull...but I think it's cool, and I've got lots more to post in the future, including some models I've personally built, but I think I'm gonna take a break from car stuff on here for a little while. At least until the Coldwater car show. I dunno what to post next. My house is getting some major work done, so a lot of stuff is packed away for a while. There's a noticeable layer of dust on everything. I'm sure it's safe to breath this all in. Hmmm.....