Donny Osmond may have won Dancing With The Stars and a whole lotta money for his favorite charity but a whole lotta money was the last thing that was spent on manufacturing this toy microphone and song sheets set at the height of the Donny & Marie Show frenzy in 1976. Despite the claim on the package that you too can “CREATE YOUR OWN SONGS • MAKE YOUE OWN MUSIC” the non-working plastic mic attaches to nothing and won’t get you much farther than singing into a candle or a shoe or anything else remotely microphone shaped.


The “song sheets” are literally blank sheets of paper that you write the notes to your own song on should you have enough songwriting chops to pull one out of the blue and be blessed with the knowledge of how to notate music, the latter of which I don’t even know how to do.


To make matters worse and even lower-rent, the song sheets are stapled together at the top and the bottom and it’s next to impossible without surgical instruments to remove the staples without ripping the one-ply-thick-thinner-than-toilet-paper paper it’s printed on.

donny-&-marie-microphone_4686 donny-&-marie-microphone_4687 donny-&-marie-microphone_4688

Made in Hong Kong during the heyday of the bro/sis acts’ ABC variety show by the family’s own Osbro Productions and distributed by Gordy International (how did Motown get into the act?) it also appears that Donnie got the shaft on the shaft of the microphone as Marie’s name got bumped up to all caps and Donny’s remains crushed into diminutive lower case letters.


All around, this belongs in an express elevator up to the Penthouse of Kitsch because it is sooooo totally and completely cheaply made, meant to be dumped into bargain bins at all of the dollar discount stores that were just starting to get a smelly toehold on the American merchandising scene.



Long before it was de rigueur for refrigerators to come equipped with automatic ice makers a contraption like this hung in almost every kitchen in the world allowing homemakers to crush fine or coarse ice without lifting a hammer, the previous method of accomplishing such a thing.

9 1/2″ tall, this most revolutionary of kitchen appliances was made by by the Rival Corp. of Kansas City, Mo., the company that also relieved kitchen misery with their forward thinking Can-O-Mat, Juice-O-Mat, Broil-O-Mat and other O-Mats which graced the product line until production ceased in the 1960’s. Thankfully I still have this one to remind me of my excellent past ice experiences. It’s been in full use this Thanksgiving weekend as many drinks preceded the bird and it’s leftover flock.

iceomat_1313 iceomat_1310 iceomat_1311 iceomat_1312


If you live in the US today is all about eating leftovers. These turkeys have been part of my post Thanksgiving overload ever since they were rescued from a thrift shop by my sister in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid 1980s. Made in the ’50s, these abstract fowl are filled by detaching the tail and shoving the seasoning inside, remaining faithful to the stuffing technique imposed on the real bird.


The grains come out of small holes around the nose.


These birds are a nice ‘n tasty 4″ high.

turkey-S&Ps_5063 turkey-S&Ps_5079


I love Thanksgiving. The anticipation is so great I can smell the turkey and fixins wafting up my nostrils the entire month of November. Every year I contemplate prepping the bird myself, eager to re-create my mother’s recipe using the best ginger ale in the land, Detroit’s own Vernors, but I thankfully receive enough invitations that one less fowl hits the ovens and my potential guests are spared from any possible food related illnesses. All this to say that when I found this inflatable turkey I was elated! It sits in the middle of my dining room table all month and then gets blown up again for Christmas. My house smells delicious because I have such a vivid imagination. Anyone’s welcome over to my place for some delicious plastic and hot air. Happy Thanksgiving!

inflatable-turkey__0016me inflatable-turkey__0018 inflatable-turkey__0007 inflatable-turkey__0008


Last night Donny Osmond bagged an almost perfect score doing the Cha-Cha to my song, “September”, on Dancing With The Stars. In his former life as an Osmond he and his brothers took on my follow-up Earth Wind & Fire hit, “Boogie Wonderland”. What makes the latter performance in Provo, Utah in 1980 kwalify as Kitsch isn’t so much that Donny’s singing is uncharacteristically off, flatter than an iceskating rink in spots, but that the lyric changes made to suit Mormon sensibilities are so odd:

Original Boogie Wonderland: “You say your prayers though you don’t care. You dance and shake the hurt.” / Osmondized: “You never felt vibrations quite like this in Wonderland.”

Now, not only am I not against lyric changes when someone covers my songs (after the original, correct version is out), I’m rarely concerned with preserving the sanctity of the original record and always more interested in the individuality expressed in a new version. But I don’t understand what was so offensive about the original Boogie Wonderland lyric. I guess it was the word ‘prayers’ and the fact that you might momentarily not have faith in them when your life has crashed to the ground as the lines previous to it set up: “Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men who need more than they get./Daylight deals a bad hand to a woman who has laid too many bets./ The mirror stares you in the face and says ‘baby, uh uh, it don’t work…”)

Original Boogie Wonderland: “I chase my vinyl dreams to Boogie Wonderland.”/ Osmondized: “I chase my crazy dreams to Boogie Wonderland.”

I guess they thought vinyl was some kind of sex costume or toy…  I meant vinyl as in plain ol’ 33-1/3.

To Kitsch in Provo and Donny winning the prize!


In my formative years of being a songwriter, the Captain and Tenille covered the AM radio landscape thicker than astroturf. Even their bulldog, Elizabeth, was part of the act that made wearing a dorky captain’s hat and walking around with a bowl haircut that looked like it had marshmallows stuffed in the curled under ends fashionable. But for whatever can be said about their ultra bubblegum, cringingly cute look, Captain and Tenille made equally as cute yet great Pop records like “Love Will Keep Us Together”, 1975 Record Of The Year, and the evermore schmaltzy “Muscrat Love”, a song with a great melody whose arrangement featured scrunched-up-rat’s-nose synthesized rodent sounds.

This Toni Tennille doll is a “fully poseable fashion doll” that’s 12-1/4 inches tall and features “cut out accessories”, which means you have to cut out cardboard shapes of Elizabeth the bulldog’s bones and bowls and then play with them flat on the table.

Ms. Tenille was made in 1977 by C&T’s own Moonlight and Magnolia, Inc. in association with Mego Corp, maker of some of the most popular and cheesiest dolls of the 1970s as evidenced on the back of the box where photos of other dolls in their TV Starz series feature Tenille’s identical face.

toni-tenille-doll_1305 toni-tenille-doll_1306 toni-tenille-doll_1302 toni-tenille-doll_1295 toni-tenille-doll_1294 toni-tenille-doll_1301 toni-tenille-doll_1292


Vintage 1970’s cardboard Mahalia Jackson church fan, courtesy of the Robert L. Parks Funeral Home of Cedartown, Georgia. When Jackson, the original Queen of Gospel, passed away in 1972 this fan with her likeness, made by the A. Sheer Company, flooded Black churches in America to join the rest of the church fan flock of Martin Luther Kings, sentimental portraits of African-American families and pastoral scenes courtesy of mostly funeral homes, cleaners and and car dealerships.

Church fans are still in heavy use today and Mahalia is still there waving with the best of them.

mahalia-jackson-church-fan_1285 mahalia-jackson-church-fan_1287 mahalia-jackson-church-fan_1289


Rising like several healthy squirts of whipped cream on an otherwise dull sundae, the Sanctuary spa/resort/fantasy masterpiece of plaster workmanship on Palm Dr. in Desert Hot Springs, California almost caused me to have a car wreck when I first drove past it. Absolutely incongruous with anything else in the area, it still gets my vote as hot spot in town.

Despite the fact that the plaster is slathered on so thick that the mashed potato/sour cream/whipped cream exterior already shows cracks, I’ve long known that this ‘heaped on’ technique is an excellent way to cover up otherwise dowdy exteriors. Cottage cheese or fan brushed plaster or concrete do not count here. That’s merely for people who have no taste. The cascading and mounding effect seen here at The Sanctuary is, rather, a fully realized artistic vision that scales to the peak of Mt. Kitschrest and never comes down for a landing.

I found these comments online: “… staff , restaurant, rooms and pool area is perfect” … “Rollaway bed mattress ($10 extra charge) was so old and uncomfortable” … “Everywhere we went the staff took time to wish us a good day” … “What a dirty, stinkin, filthy dive!” … “Best $70.00 ever spent…”… “on the first day we have no shampoo and when we ask the answer was “we are not received yet from supplier ” ( who cares-i pay for room ).”

Sanctuary-spa-_4152 Sanctuary-spa-_4164 Sanctuary-spa-_4166 Sanctuary-spa-_4155 Sanctuary-spa-_4161 Sanctuary-spa-_4165

How-To--Dominican-BlowoutDoobieAs most of you know by now, I’m one of the few songwriters who loves when their songs are used or performed inappropriately as it turns the songs into masterpieces of Kitsch. I never set out to write Kitsch as I love music too much but if I leave it in the hands of all the people who love to see themselves on YouTube I’m rarely disappointed.

As opposed to a performance, this is someone who’s chosen to verrrry sloooowwwwly show us how to achieve a Dominican hairdo using two Earth Wind & Fire songs as background music, “After The Love Is Gone” and “Boogie Wonderland”, the latter of which I co-wrote and the significance of neither in regards to the the subject matter make any sense.

With pixelated effects that happen in the first few seconds of the video and never occur again in the 9 minutes and 13 torturous seconds it takes to get the damn rollers out and hair wrapped, this is a directorial masterpiece in the filmic language of Kitsch. Among other highlights is that absolutely nothing happens in rhythm to the music, the “wind machine” only functions in one “scene” and the label on a jar of product appears backwards so you can’t possibly see what it is even if you wanted to achieve this look. Also excellent is the fact that ‘doobie’ doesn’t mean what we think it does and is apparently some kind of barrette or bobby pin.

I got excited when it was apparent that the final hairdo was going to look like a Fez. At this point, over 7 minutes in, “Boogie Wonderland” is in full throttle instrumental. That hair should have been whipping around to the strings and horns, combs and doobies flying. But alas, the Fez just gets pulled tighter and tighter, smoother and smoother, totally defying the intention of the music. And why would something be called ‘blowout’ that’s actually deflated and increases in value the flatter it gets?

Even I had trouble making it through to the final strand but from a Kitsch perspective this is a Top 10 hit!