Long before Mr. Clean and Magic Sponge promised fewer steps and happy housewives came Harwood’s Sponge Cloth, one of many modern miracle kitchen products offered for the first time in history in the post-war Atomic Age to ladies of the kitchen.  As chemicals developed for warfare or space travel like Teflon were trickling down to pots and pans, linoleum floors and kitchen counters, the Sponge Cloth promised to be a “Sponge and Dishcloth in One!” that “Cleans and Dries in One Stroke!” “Wet•squeeze•use” and for 35¢ lives were changed because now there was more time to run into the next room and enjoy the revolution happening in the living room, television.

I’m always completely intrigued by people who develop a supposedly revolutionary product and then come up with a name like “Sponge Cloth”. Like a wad of mud sliding down the wall of creativity until it hits zero. Smash! A direct hit on the head of the mundane.

I’m sure it’s true that “Millions of Satisfied Users” lost muscle mass because of the minimal arm movement involved in operating the Sponge Cloth.


I just hope it cleaned better than it aged:


The photo actually makes the Sponge Cloth look like a normal scouring pad but in reality it looks much more like stale matzoh or a piece of insulation than it does either a sponge or a cloth.

I always love when a product refers to itself as “amazing” and promises HUNDREDS of uses or, in the case of the Sponge Cloth, “a Hundred Uses” on the nose.


Does that mean that the Sponge Cloth can be used 100 times or are there 100 different ways to use it? If the latter, The Harwood Company of Farmingdale, New Jersey could have gotten a little more imaginative on the big three than ‘wash’, ‘wipe dry’ and ‘polish’.  But, then again, it’s the Sponge Cloth. Same guy working on the art direction as the name.

As much as I disparage the Sponge Cloth, if it really was a cloth that cleaned and dried in one stroke I wish I had found a case of them instead of just one. And didn’t wait 60 years to use them.



I love Japanese convenience products born out of blended east and west needs and Pop Culture, especially ones by way of Vietnam as this toilet product is. In this case, not only are the translations awkward but the product is too. You affix these strips that look somewhere between oversized sanitary pads and shoe inserts on the rim of your toilet seat and then peel them off after you remove your “bottom”, only to use them again the next time you rest on the porcelain throne. Apparently, this saves you the trouble of washing the toilet seat or worrying that you’re going to be sitting on someone else’s nasty stuff. I, personally, would still be concerned as I don’t want to be bending over the facilities trying to flick up the end of some reusable Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste. And what does that name mean anyway?


Are the pads/shoe inserts that are looking more and more like strips of sticky fly paper a toilet seat cover or are they paste? I don’t know that I want to be hovering over the bowl to come to a final decision. Besides, the full name of the product appears to be Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste Well Type with Pattern. This would take an entire day of sitting on the toilet to try and figure out and I have a feeling that more solid fact would end up in the toilet than in my head.

One of my favorite things about this product is the slogan that equates a toilet with life itself.


I haven’t really found that there’s that direct of a relationship between the two.

“Unlike a conventional toilet seat, installation and removal is very easy.”


Well, uh, yeah, a toilet seat is an actual part with some weight and mechanics involved ensuring functionality and stability whereas the Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste Well Type with Pattern is just two confusing strips of paper that forces one to make contact with the actual toilet seat while assuming that perhaps the person whose “bottom” occupied it before you did not have the benefit of owning their own Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste Well Type with Pattern. This is not where I would want to be placing my hands to retrieve my fly strips.


For cleaning, just rinse with warm water. However, to most efficiently dry your seat covers one must find a “spin-drier” as opposed to using “a drying machine”.


What is a drying machine? A microwave? I don’t know about you but I don’t want anything I just pulled off my toilet anywhere near where I tweak my food.

It also says that if you choose natural drying you must keep the strips in the shade, paying attention “not to allow dust on the backside”.


It seems to me that the whole point of the strips in the first place is “not to allow dust on the backside”.

Further instructions for correct usage of Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste Well Type with Pattern prove just as confusing as the name of the product itself. “Do not use clippers since use of such items results in traces on the absorption surfaces”.


I would be constipated by the time I really figured out what that meant.

And then there’s this: “be careful when washing or drying the sheets with the absorption surfaces facing each other that they do not permanently adhere together”.


Am I supposed to get inside the spin-dryer with the strips in order to prevent this?

All in all though I’m happy to own the Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste Well Type with Pattern as it goes very nicely with what’s hugging my toilet right now, the “Warm Cover Of Toilet Bowl”, another toilet sensation from the Orient.



Thank you, aKitschionado Margaret Lewis, for your generous contribution of one Paper Toilet Seat Cover Paste Well Type with Pattern to The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com!


Other than the fact that it’s packaged in a 750ml bottle, the standard size vessel for champagne, the stretch  to connect product with name is so thin and precarious here as to induce the medical condition known as Kitschago. As a writer, it’s painful to see so many plays on words in trying to make elements as disparate as popcorn and classical music seem connected. As a kitsch lover, however, it’s ecstasy. Let’s see, how many ways can we thwack the creative brain with a lead pipe and make this popcorn/ Beethoven connection work?  The label, Château de Musica, implores the popcorn ingestee to “HANDEL with care”.  I don’t understand what care it takes to eat “Le grand Pops” but if one does apparently HANDEL it wrong the bottler, RACH MANINOFF, guarantees “your money BACH”.


Unfortunately, the LISZT price isn’t stamped on the bottle. And I don’t know enough about classical music to know if Albert Elovitz has anything to do with the art form but somehow the military managed to get in on the wordplay as Distilled by credit goes to KERNEL Albert Elovitz.


Thankfully, the bottom of the bottle remains pun free.


I cringe when people send me really cheesy song lyrics to critique, so pun filled at times I find it necessary to tell them that connecting together a bunch of plays on words isn’t an original concept and rarely works unless something else so unique is tossed into the mix. In this case, it’s thankfully not a crappy song I have before me but a champagne bottle, vintage 1986,  filled with popcorn. It may not be musical but it’s definitely what I would stock in the bar to serve with the cheese wheel at my next party.


And while we’re on the subject of Beethoven’s Fifth


I’m not sure which kitsch factor I enjoy most about this made in Japan Portable Banana Keeper,  the fact that it’s pierced with hearts because it loves bananas so much,…


…or that you can wear it as a necklace,…


…or that the little latches that keep your banana secure are so hard to pop open it will only last for two or three reloadings,…


…or that my cat loves it…


…or that there’s a special one for green bananas…,


…so special, in fact, that it’s called a Banana Case…


…as opposed to its yellow big brother,…


…The Banana Keeper,…


…and is scientifically designed with tiny holes instead of large hearts…


…to ripen your fruit quicker despite the fact that few people I know would walk around with their banana around their neck for days while they waited for it to ripen.

Or maybe it’s simply the fact that all bananas aren’t created equal and some don’t fit into their new home.


Whatever the case may be, I love plastic convenience products from Japan. And I don’t really care if the Banana Keeper/ Banana Case works or lasts at all as long as it continues to make my cat happy.



Thank you, aKitschionado Margaret Lewis, for your generous contribution of one Banana Case and two Banana Keepers to The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com!


As I lie in bed with food poisoning after ingesting some of the worst food I’ve ever eaten in LA Saturday night (at an expensive downtown restaurant which shall remain nameless as I’m only 99.99% sure it was the scene of the crime and not 100), this rubber doctor puppet seems a very appropriate Kitsch O’ The Day offering. Made by Childcraft in 1968 and used in African-American classrooms to teach about good role models the set also includes two girls, two guys, one kid, a grandmother, a grandfather, a policeman and Nelson Mandela.


The grandfather and Nelson Mandela look suspiciously alike. I like how one can merely change their suit and go from leading a family to leading a nation:


Because I have so much memorabilia and because I throw so many parties and used to shoot a lot of music videos here I always get asked if anything is ever stolen. For 30 years I’ve been very proud to say only one thing and that was an ashtray that was so common among 50’s collectibles that the person who stole it deserved it because anyone who knew their stuff would take one look at it and think that person didn’t really have discriminating taste.  All I know is that it was someone in this photo during a Kid Creole and The Coconuts shoot over here in 1989. I have no idea who the  guilty party was but it was most certainly not the person in the sunglasses:


Now as I stare at the puppet group three photos above I see that one of the girls is missing too.


This had to have happened during the last six months during which time I threw two parties. I’m at least thankful that whoever copped it didn’t make off with the whole set though I must say that this discovery makes my stomach ache as much the ratty restaurant downtown does.

I’ve loved my Childcraft puppets since the day I found them, not only because they’re one of the few mass-produced vintage products made specifically as African-American teaching aids but because once your hand is stuffed inside of them they’re very malleable and lifelike looking.


Here are two of my favorites with Sammy Davis Jr. guarding my gold records:


Despite the fact that it gave me a great excuse to drag the doctor out, the unnamed downtown restaurant screwed up my entire weekend causing me to miss a panel I was speaking on regarding new technology and the theater, two parties, one photo shoot drive and a movie. I would’ve preferred to make the weekend activities decision on my own rather than let the horrific buttermilk fried chicken that tasted like wood and could chip a tooth, the creepy little cheesecball freebie (thanks for nothing), and tuna tartare, the sloshy mound that I suspect was the main culprit, doom me to a weekend of Gatorade, bananas and saltines between bathroom runs. And I certainly wish my rubber doctor could be of more help than just looking cute.


But then I realize that this is the gift of writing a daily blog, that one can vent about restaurants that think they’re fancy but are merely annoying and in this case dangerous.  Thank God there was a doctor in the house to cheer me up somewhat. I have a feeling if I ate the puppet it would have made me feel better than that dreadful meal did.




There are many things I love about this “Italy” fashion emporium in Van Nuys, California:

• The thoughtfully placed swathed-in-jeweled-look-denin-jeans torso-less mannequin so that her ass is facing incoming  customers and hogging up much of the walkway.

• The only entrance to the store being from the crowded parking lot in back.

• The accent traffic cone.

•  The Hush Gentleman’s Club sign on the roof adding even more exterior elegance.

•  The big sale for 1 suit, 1 shirt and 1 tie for $99 despite there being no evidence of men’s clothing inside.

• The bar outside:


• The decidedly tropical, nowhere near Rome mural painted on the side of the store.


But more than anything, it’s the jeweled-look jeans at the end of the store’s asphalt carpet that race the distinctly non-Italian named Virgil’s the final mile up the mountaintop of Kitsch.  Dotted with paint, the glittering rhinestone patterns are sure to glisten forever, insuring the classy Virgil’s vibe stay with each and every discerning customer long after she leaves the parking lot.



I can’t remember any game more popular than Cootie when I was growing up. But forget about the game itself, I loved playing with the little plastic body parts. I’m quite positive that the full-on-plastic-soaked-saturation of the pink Cootie legs is where my love of that particular color came from.


My house is the same pink:


So was my car:


I still get a thrill when I touch any of the Cootie contents today, especially those pink legs.


I’m sure that looking at all this saturated color all day when I was a kid influenced me as an artist. Here’s my very first art piece I made as a grownup artist in 1983:


It was a 5 1/2′ x  8′ collage of made out of (primarily) pink house paint, 70’s Ebony magazine clips and 50’s TV knobs. It was called “Dialated Pupils”.

Here’s a blurry photo of James Brown sitting in front of it when we worked together in the 80’s:


None of this has much to do with the subject at hand other than my life is filled with pink and there was no bigger fan of my memorabilia collection than The Godfather. But back to Cootie:

This particular Cootie game was the victim of a flood just weeks after Mr. Brown was over when some of my underwear clogged the drain that the washing machine dumped into.


The same flood ruined the my Beatles wig…


… but that doesn’t have much to do with Cootie either.

I don’t even really remember the rules of the game – I just liked twisting the little pink legs into the Cootie bodies. But I do remember not liking the directions because they were so slanted towards the dominant sex it was assumed would play the game:


Cootie, my house, my art, my car, James Brown, my Beatles wig –  this post is all over the place, just like the Cootie legs are going to be as soon as I pick this up:


As much as I loved/love those pink legs the Schaper  Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis, who made the game in 1949, never mastered a tight enough fit of them into the body holes. The last time I officially played Cootie I was 10, stepped on one of my beloved pink legs and slid into a bridge table with a cup of coffee on it, the contents of which dumped on my pristine white buck shoes forever staining them just like they had been in a flood over here all those years later.



Every morning I wake up to a pile of notes that I’ve dropped on the floor from my bed the night before as I don’t like to keep anything in my head so I have a running chance of falling asleep. My M.O. is to scribble things down as soon as I think of them anyway so no brain space is occupied with to do lists or thoughts of any kind and creative ideas have ultimate room to race around and breed.


In general, I’m better at tackling things in the morning than letting them make mush of whatever brain cells are left by midnight but I will remember nothing unless it’s immortalized in solid print somewhere. This method works fine for me but it’s a horrifying sight every morning to see the river of notes that await me and threaten to overtake my day. So they all end up under this handy little 1950’s transparent plastic “Don’t Forget” hand that psychologically improves my mood just looking at it holding the tasks in place that lie before me.


Of course, within days the girth of the pile is enough to tip “Don’t Forget” over but I love the feel of the lightweight hand made in Hong Kong and never mind picking it up and rifling through the first couple of notes to see if there’s anything I can stand doing at the moment, thereby whacking away at the pile.


But most of the time I just spend looking at the delicate hand and ever-growing pile it’s meant to serve and protect. Everything eventually ends up getting done and I enjoy crumpling up the tasks and throwing them into the shredder so that they may eventually return to their natural pristine paper state and I can start scribbling on them all over again so my third hand has something to do.

Dont-forget-hand_2351 Dont-forget-hand_2352


I never really watched Murder, She Wrote during its run on CBS from 1984-1996. I was in a very heavy songwriting and technology phase and although I always had the TV on – or should I say TVs as I had 28 of them at the time, one against every wall in each room so I wouldn’t miss a moment – I never had the sound up. All I ever watched then anyway were comedies. I didn’t have the patience for any of the more complex murder shows. To appreciate and understand what was going on in them I would have needed the sound up and once that happened it became more about me listening to the score and looking at the hairdos and fashions than actually following the plot. Following the intricacies of a murder case demands concentration. Just like trying to figure out how to play the Murder, She Wrote game does:


I know the rules are too hard to read this small but I devoted 500 pixels to trying to make them readable and, in my opinion, anything that’s supposed to be played for fun should not demand this arduous of focus.

I also don’t like boardgames or books or any other kind of memorabilia based on something that began as a TV show when you don’t get an actual photo of the star.


Although this illustration kind of looks like a (Paint-By-Number) Angela Lansbury it also looks like 3 trillion other women who didn’t start using skin cream early enough and have always kept their hair in a convenient and generic bob.   I should know as I’ve seen the real deal Jessica Fletcher up close and personal when I was up for a Tony in 2006 for The Color Purple.


In 1995, Murder, She Wrote met its demise when CBS moved it to Thursday nights where it crumbled faster than a lame alibi against NBC’s reigning behemoth, Friends.  Normally I wouldn’t be happy to see someone as iconic as Angela Lansbury slide down the tubes but seeing as I wrote “I’ll Be There for You” (the theme from Friends) if someone had to win I’m glad it was who was paying me royalties and not the series that spawned this board game.

murder-she-wrote-game_3660 murder-she-wrote-game_3667 murder-she-wrote-game_3663


There’s nothing more I like to throw on my head to protect it from a raging shower stream than a shower cap covered with T-bone steaks. I wish it were more of a meat directory up there but, alas, despite giving the cap the general category name of “meat” only the lonely T-bone made it to immortality.


I found this elegant “Deluxe” shower cap a few years ago when I was looking for party souvenirs. There they were, 30,000 glistening meat caps for sale at some online overstocks place for 15¢ each.  I was so excited my teeth started chattering as if I had been locked in the freezer with a side of beef for days. It took all my strength not to figure out a way to get all 30,000 of them. $450 would buy me enough meat chapeau souvenirs for a lifetime. But I behaved and held myself to 300 so I had enough money left to concentrate on the real beef that guests could put in their mouths and not on their heads.


I’ve won many awards in my lifetime. Finally becoming FDA approved is right up there with the best of them.