This may not excite the average person as much as it excites me but when I bought this piece of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate for a penny on eBay I felt like I hit the Kitsch motherlode. With as much candy as I’ve seen in my lifetime I’ve never come across one made by a major manufacturer, let alone Hershey’s, that had a wrong wrapper.   Not only is the graphic not centered on the candy bar but it’s not even the right color.  Here is a non-mutant piece pictured with the orphan:


I’ve been popping these things into my mouth for years. I can spot one miles away in the candy terrarium that greets visitors as they walk into my house and which I fill and art direct daily.


Upon acquiring the runt, I now guard it like it’s a gold bar. I have it sitting in a special place on a special shelf so no one mistakes it for an available piece to munch on. Last week when I saw someone pick it up I yelled ‘NOOOOOOO’ so loud you would have thought I was stopping someone from pressing the button to activate a nuclear bomb. This is one freak of candy nature I intend to be able to enjoy the rest of my life.



Were it not for Gold Bell Gift Stamps I never would’ve had a new blanket or clock radio to go off to college with. I’m not sure where these stamps  were given out in Detroit, where I grew up,  but it had to have been an A&P or Kroger’s as that’s where my mom always did her shopping. I loved licking and pasting in all the stamps she brought home and I collected those books like they were diamonds knowing that I could cash them in on the items of my choice.


It was definitely looking through the Gold Bell Gift Stamps catalog that my love of catalogs blossomed. It was absolutely mind boggling to me that you could actually get something for free and all it required was licking little stamps and gluing them onto the pages as the book got lumpy and lumpier, looking almost as if a pitcher of water had been poured on it the fuller it got. For someone who’s a paper freak like me it was just as thrilling to fill the book as it was to get the items the books were cashed in to get. In fact, sometimes I got so attached to the books as they warped as more and more stamps were pasted in that the book itself became more precious than the gift it could procure.


I’m not sure if this hand-painted wooden counter sign was for Gold Bell Gift Stamps or whether there was an entirely different brand called, simply, Gold Stamps:


Whatever the case, my tattered book of Gold Bell Gift Stamps, ready to be redeemed for a hood hairdryer, mohair argyle sweater or automatic hand mixer, looks very nice sitting next to it.


I used to pour over this page making sure I had done everything right. I could smell the new pogo stick or 45 player as I filled in my name and address.


I shall always love Gold Bell Gift Stamps for being a big part of my childhood. Past a certain point I just couldn’t give the books away anymore. I must’ve known somewhere in the back of my head I was going to have the world’s most gigantic memorabilia collection. So I have this book and a few spare stamps and that’s just as good as the portable TV I always wanted which took hundreds and hundreds of books that I never managed to amass before falling for a turtle bowl, dictionary or any of the other smaller gifts that made me feel rich as a Queen.



I love lighted signs. Most of the ones I collect are African-American from the 1950’s and 60’s but I also fall for big fat trouts popping out of picnic baskets, gushing motorized waterfalls and the blinking lights of a big metropolis. But my absolute favorite genre which I constantly stop myself from buying because I have no room to keep any more are lighted food signs, not the least of which is this one commemorating one of my all-time favorite snack foods, the chili dog.

I love Chili dogs.


This  was consumed two months ago at Cupids Hot Dogs in Tarzana, CA, where the decor is just as good as the hot dogs.


There are also two outstanding specials offered at Cupid’s that I haven’t seen offered at very many other hot dog stands:


I don’t think Cupid’s uses Castleberry chili though, which is good as in 2007 many cans of Castleberry were recalled for possibly containing Botulism.


As I’m too lazy to cook my own anything this has not deterred me from enjoying a good hot dog stand-bought chili dog every now and then…


… especially if it comes in the form of a vintage lighted sign.



I don’t know about you but there’s nothing that I’d like to see floating in my drink less than a set of teeth. Unless they’re these wonderful ice cubes that pop out of a rubbery bubblegum pink gums-colored tray right into the refreshment of your choice. I’ve even made them specifically for Bloody Mary’s where I put some crushed peppercorns in the water so it looks like the teeth have cavities while slowly seasoning your drink as they melt.

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It’s a gorgeous day here in LA today, perfect for sitting back with a nice, cold drink showing off a beautiful extra set of choppers. I’m mixing the Kool-Aid right now.



I’m not really a collector of vintage presidential plates. The only other ones I have, a few Jack and Jackie Kennedy ones, crept in more because of hairdos and fashion sense than for their stature as the First Couple of the United States. But every Eisenhower plate I’ve ever stumbled across has some tragic art department flaw.  Like no one ever approved the plates once they were finished or there’s no way they could have escaped the fact that something was always magnificently wrong with the skin color of the couple who occupied the White House right before the Kennedys, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, President and First Lady of the United States from 1952 to 59.  Here they look like corpses:


A slight adjustment on color and at least it wouldn’t look like the Eisenhower’s had butter and pancake syrup running through their veins as opposed to real blood that would have forced a more natural skin tone.

Here it almost looks as if the Eisenhower’s race has changed:


Upon closer look, it looks like  the art director matched the skin texture of a potato rather than a human being:


My absolute favorite depiction of the Eisenhowers on ceramic is this plate where it looks like they have grown an extra head:


Upon closer  inspection, it looks like a second head was stamped on just as the plate was beginning to move down the assembly line, as if their faces were on little springs and actively popping out of their heads.


Sometimes you look at a President and you get inspired because you think anyone can become whatever they want if they just dedicate themselves enough. But these Eisenhower presidential plates inspire me in a totally different way. It tells me that even if you’re the President, kitsch can happen to you. But the good news is that, for one, this American citizen has taken much more interest this particular President than she ever would have had his skin been in better condition.


A petite 4″ x 6″, this little metal tip tray was a promotional item given away in the 1950’s by the AMI corporation to celebrate their massive line of  exclusive multi-Horn, high fidelity sound system jukeboxes. It’s  been sitting in my recording studio collecting guitar picks for as long as I can remember after originally being brought in as a drink coaster after I ruined several keyboards with an avalanche of Diet Coke, Yoo-hoos and decaf.

Sunday night I was in Sonoma, CA. writing with Pomplamoose. We were shooting to finish three songs in four days. The work never stopped even when we went out to dinner as is evidenced by my little digital recorder that was on for four solid days capturing every thought and breath we had.


But when it came time to pay the check I reached out to lay the tip down and knocked over a bowl of lentils, dousing the recorder with a river of Indian goo. So every time I went to record after that I had to push down extra hard on the buttons to break through the crust that seeped into and dried in the recorder. If only the AMI JukeBox Tip Tray had been there so there was a nice designated and protected area to deposit the gratuity I would still have a recorder that didn’t smell like Bombay.



Without question, these are by far my favorites of the 50 or 60 pairs of headphones that I own. Although of no use whatsoever in my recording studio as their sole purpose is to wear them to listen to the radio they still are the best looking set of phones I’ve ever seen.headphones-music-muffs_6724

I oftentimes wear these two-speaker-but-not-really-stereo Music Muffs when a collaborator is working on something that I either don’t view as crucial to the record or something I know it’s better to just let them run with without any kind of censoring from a collaborator. So rather than sit there and get annoyed or bored I just tune them out and listen to AM radio.


I didn’t bring my Music Muffs with me on my trip up north to work with Pomplamoose where I am right now racing to finish three SMASH songs as the voluminous amount of percussion instruments that I stuffed into my suitcase didn’t allow room for the precious radio headphones cargo.


Pomplamoose has their own headphones but there’s not enough inputs into their audio interface so only two people have the luxury of listening to what they’re harmonizing to.  The other person steers blind.


Most people couldnt work this way.  But this group, just like me, thrives on spontaneity and working within insane limits, all of which adds life to the music.  This always happens when one must rely on their imagination to create great sounds as opposed to their pocketbook or massive array of equipment.


Though I do wish my Music Muffs had made the trip as the hard drive that I tripped over that all the video was being directly recorded to is being rushed to the hard drive doctor as we speak. In the meantime, I’m writing this post and trying to stay calmmmmmmmmmmm without the aid and distraction of beautiful mono sound.


And we just keep on singing…

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This “For A Great Guy” cup is large enough to hold enough steaming brew for Dad to sip and ponder the wonderfulness of fatherhood as exhibited on these astounding LP covers featuring families all fluffed and coiffed for their musical debuts.  I thank the following families for looking and dressing so good as to commemorate Dad’s magnificent power to pop out the little ones who support their fathers no matter how misguided their appearance decisions may be.

On this LP cover Dad can feel like it’s Christmas all year round when he wears his new robins egg blue polyester jacket and whatever’s in that box. My only wish is that he had more hair so he could have the same flat-as-a-landing-strip haircut his son does.

moms and dads

I’m happy to see the lavender-tinged Gill family celebrating Dad by wearing matching napkins around their neck. Dad’s haircut seems to have inspired all the male Gills except Junior down on the right.  I give him til he’s 12.

gill fam

Wow, Dad’s growth hormones definitely worked on the vertical plane.  And mom spent all her afternoons studying the Kennedy women in Life Magazine.

god calledme to sing

The entire Einert family has excellent head shapes for the follicular style that atops them.  Mommy’s hair looks like Jiffy Pop and Bill and Jim’s ties look like they’re made from a tablecloth. I’m serious. Where’s the knot? And why are the Einerts so happy if, in fact, God is slipping away?

bill mary ji,

Not at all sure what happened to Daddy here other than he had the good sense to be photographed in front of a fake brick wall.

soemting happened to dad

Happy Father’s Day to all the sharp dressed men with matching families out there and may you all be sipping something special out of a ginormous Great Guy cup.

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These 1950’s bongos with pearlized crushed ice wrap and heavy chrome hardware have been beaten on just about every song I ever wrote.  If it weren’t for their bone crushing girth they would be in my suitcase right now as I’m on my way up to northern CA. to finish six songs with Pomplamoose.


Despite having sold over 50 million records I still have never learned how to play, which always makes for a very interesting experiment when I collaborate. It’s rare that I leave my own studio and the over 500 percussion instruments that are in there because the easiest thing for me to do when I hear a melody in my head or some kind of repetitive lyric is to walk over to something like these bongos and start filling in rhythm.


I was drawn to Pomplamoose when I heard them do my song “September”.


I’ve seen trillions of versions of this song and no one gets within a continent of Earth Wind & Fire. But Pomplamoose dissected that thing like a frog and reconstructed something inventive and fun so I did what I never do, I tracked them down and asked if they wanted to make records together.


We got together for four days in December and got great starts on six songs, filming for the videos as we went.


I’m completely spontaneous. I don’t really plan anything when it comes to music or art. I just go with the first thing in my head or under my fingers which are usually these bongos and songs start to build from there.


I video everything and Pomplamoose videos every final take. Between all of us we had 40 hours of footage at the end of the four days.

I’m only taking one of my three HD cameras this trip but there’s also tripods to lug, plus enough tapes to let the camera roll for three days,  3 still cameras, my MacBook, iPad, 2 mobile phones,  6 travel drives, three digital tape recorders, cords for every conceivable configuration, not to mention my clothes –  I’m not the type who can wear one outfit for three days despite the fact that I’ll never be leaving the studio. My one regret is that there’s no room for the sacred bongos to come along.



No one loves socks, the most over looked fashion item in the clothing arsenal, more than me. I have hundreds of pairs and they change with every outfit. Easily the cheapest but what should be the best smelling socks in the drawer are these two pairs that are supposed to wreak of Sugar Daddies. But short of stuffing these socks up my nostrils I haven’t detected any such smell or I’d be running out to buy matching pairs of Tootsie Rolls, Blow Pops, Junior Mints, Charms and Dots foot coverings.

I can’t imagine that it would take foot sweat to activate the olfactory function so I’m going to have to assume that these were ill-conceived from the jump as I plucked them straight outta the unopened packages where not a scintilla lot of candy smell remained either.


Made in 2004 for Designs by Skaffles, Inc. of New York, these 65% Acrylic, 30% Polyester, 4% Spandex, 1% rubber and 0% smelling socks are supposed to retain their scent for 4-5 washings.


I swear I would love to walk around smelling like a Sugar Daddy but unless these were pre-washed 4-5 times before they were packaged in China the only hint of candy is on the way-too-light-to-read-without-squinting pink label.


So the socks don’t smell and the label is hard to read.  All of which makes for excellence in Kitsch but, unfortunately, not in socks.