“Perspiration motion is carried out intensively and working out of the upper half of the body!!” Well, you can say that again!

I’m not quite sure why perspiration promotion deserves two ‘!!’s. Although I can attest to the fact that perspiration happens the second this smothering sheet of black is pulled over the upper half.

The last time I checked, perspiration could also transpire on the lower parts of the body. Though I’m not sure I would want “rubber processing” occurring anywhere:

Lest there be any confusion as to which part of the body a JACKET goes on, there’s this:

Despite this fashion being clearly marked as a “veste du sauna” I don’t think I need any article of clothing making me boil anymore in du sauna:

Notice that height is measured in inches. That usually stops after you’re a few years old.

It’s very nice that the Sauna Jacket comes with a ‘hood cover”, though I’m used to that phrase referring to something that goes over a stove or grill of a car:

I’m not so sure about wearing ‘clothing of absorbency’ if there’s a chance that my clothes will poison me:

Speaking of poisoning, I always look forward to reading the warnings on such imported products:

I would never wear my sauna jacket WITH a washing machine or dryer, the latter of which is spelled with a ‘y’ and not an ‘i’, fyI Daiso industries. And should I ever have to dry my sauna jacket, I’m not sure where to go for ‘shade of ventilation’. I would never bring it ‘close to a fire side’. I hope that any medical treatment I receive will never be ‘sick’. And I must say it really concerns me that the usage of any item of clothing be determined by what mood I’m in: ‘Do not use at the time of a bad condition or at the time of fatigue’. And I’m not sure what else I would use this jacket for but I will attempt to heed the advice of ‘Do not use in addition to an original use’.

The warning I’m most concerned about, however, is the one that I can’t understand no matter how much I attempt to interpret it: “There is individual difference in an effect”. Huh?? Perhaps there’s just too much responsibility in wearing the sauna jacket.

And so it’s now safely folded up and slipped back into it’s wrapper. Hopefully no one will stick the package fire side or in the shade of ventilation.

I’m not a bowler. But I AM a bowling-kitsch-artifact collector crazy person. Bowling was THE happy-go-lucky, stylish, social sport of the 1950’s. So it follows that I would like anything that involves bowling balls and the accoutrements that accompany it, even occasionally lifting the ball myself and tossing it down the lane for the inevitable gutter ball.

Well, at least I had balls. I love the sound, feel and aesthetics of a bowling alley. I love the balls, the shoes, the snack bar, the tables you sit at to keep score. And over the years, other than the snack bar, I’ve collected a lot of it. I have bowling coin purses…

…a bowling pin lamp…

…a bowling pin bottle opener…

… bowling balls in my garden…

… bowling tables in my home…

… a wide assortment of bowling coffee mugs…

… bowling shoes…

…and a bowling ball brush.

I even use bowling trophies as door handles in my house…

…and have them carved into the floor.

That’s my kitchen floor, above which the Bowler’s Coffee Cup featured today sits in a cupboard stocked with other vintage cups.

I drink out of the bowling cup a lot because it cheers me up when I stagger into the kitchen bleary-eyed every morning.

I love all the graphics on this cup.

Less thought out than the graphics, however, was the color used to create them. I love when people who design things don’t think about the product in full use, in this case coffee being poured into the cup and lessening the effect substantially.

And that’s a real gutter ball.

Growing up, this woodpecker was in my life and kitchen constantly. I can’t imagine anyone in the 1950’s or 60’s not making the same statement so ubiquitous was this little plastic bird with the incredibly sharp I-poked-holes-in-my-fingers-so-many-times-don’t-ask tongue.

He was also a big staple at the voluminous amounts of delicatessens that paved the streets of my hometown, Detroit. I guess it was a way of making sure that kids, eager to shove his head into his tree branch of toothpicks, kept their teeth clean after they chomped down on the sugar-spiked goodies our mom’s thought was so good for us back in the day.

But this woodpecker doesn’t feast on just any toothpick. It’s gotta be the old-style flat, contoured toothpicks as the round ones, far better for picking your teeth, are just too fat to fit in his snakelike tongue.

The packaging is as good as the woodpecker himself.

Who wouldn’t want to stick something in their mouth that was clean and handy?

The woodpecker only does one thing. He bobs his head up and down. But in case that’s too complex to figure out there are also handy directions.

I have a big day today. A lunch date and two recording sessions. It’s not the most attractive thing to be walking around with junk in your choppers so say hello to my little friend who will be waiting in the car to make sure I remain “clean and handy” throughout the day.

Mere days after my first and only album, Childstar, was released on Epic Records in 1974, I walked on stage in front of 10,000 people to open in Boston for folksinger David Bromberg.

The only other time I had been on stage before was when I played a little fur tree in a school play when I was 8. Now here I was singing soul music, the first 10 songs I ever wrote, plus a Mary Wells medley and Brenton Woods’s “Oogum Boogum”. My band, the singers of whom would go on to become Chic, were dressed as sequined vegetables and I was in a satin suit that I’d autographed from head to toe. This is a really crappy photo of part of the costumes on mannequins but it’s all I’ve got;

Me and The Angle Babies aren’t in costume here but you can get a pretty good idea that between us and our costumes we weren’t what the folksinging crowd came to see.

I didn’t have a very good time on stage. I never could remember my lyrics and I always spent more time designing the sets and costumes than I did rehearsing or getting comfortable being on stage. After five performances on the East Coast we were booked into a lunchroom at Ohio State, the only way the college could also get Joni Mitchell to play in the main auditorium because we had the same agent. Our only audience were three people at a bridge table eating hot dogs and a psychology class being conducted in the back of the room, with the professor telling us to lower our volume after every song. I walked offstage after six songs and made the decision to just be a songwriter, where at least if I was being tortured it was in the comfort of my own room.

Through the years I’ve gotten much more comfortable performing – in my own unique way of doing so which doesn’t include singing live – mostly because I’m a big party thrower and walk around on mic the whole time.

Almost every conversation I have comes through the speakers and I’m literally directing and producing the party as I go. Throw in the thrift shop auctions and stupid party games that I lead the guests through and I’ve gotten very relaxed holding that cold metal thing in my hands.

But I still never have gotten it together to sing anywhere other than in the studio.

So the fact that in mere hours I will be up on the stage for the first time in almost four decades and I’m not sitting here throwing up is a MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT! Me and five other well oiled songwriters will be singing our greatest hits and talking about how they were written. It’s just with a keyboard – Chris Price, who I’ve been writing and recording a song with and shooting a video all on iPhones, is accompanying me –  but I’m singing and remembering lyrics and lines nonetheless.

And if I can get through the evening not thinking about soul singers dressed as vegetables, psychology professors and hot dogs I will have made a big breakthrough.

I’ll be performing “September“, “Boogie Wonderland”, “Neutron Dance”, and “I’ll Be There for You (theme from Friends)“. At least radio has regaled me with these songs thousands of times over the years so I’m hoping that for once I can remember my own lyrics and be happy I’m up on stage.

Wish me luck!

Despite the fact that I co-wrote the Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There for You”, I’ve never collected the plethora of merchandise associated with the show. It’s too new and mass-produced to have the soulfulness of merchandise I collect that came from TV shows of earlier decades, and instead just plops the logo or photos of the stars on the same old cups, T-shirts and keychains that every other post-1990 show on TV stamped their likeness on. Like this keychain that the manufacturer was even too cheap to stamp the name of the show on.

Or this coffee cup:

Despite the fact that I really liked/like the show – and not just because I get a teeny-tiny-minuscule-for-which-I’m-eternally-grateful royalty every time it’s on – I never liked the tragically 90’s font of the show title. The only exception is on this incredibly cheaply made purse where the font is beautiful because they left the ‘s’ off of Friends.

My billfold has the teeny tiniest most minuscule of rhinestones on it, only about 1/16th of an inch in diameter.

And why was poor Jennifer Aniston gipped out of her necklace?  Although the manufacturer includes one spare rhinestone should the other girls’ jewels be compromised through normal use.

The inside of the billfold has none of the up and frothy sprit of the show:

The back isn’t any better:

I’d rather glue the edges of the sheet music together and at least have something distinctive to carry around. And I’d never have to worry about losing it as my name is right there on it

So revolutionary and popular were miniskirts in the 1960’s that a plethora of accessories were made for them. This “Original Mini- Skirt Accessory” is easily one of the more insane ones. I guess the object was to remind you you were wearing a miniskirt when, clipped to the hem line, the little ball swinging from the 1-1/2″ long chain bounced or tick-tocked against your knee with each step.

The manufacturer, listed nowhere on the product or card it’s attached to, was trying to combine two late 60’s trends into one – miniskirts and peace symbols, often worn by two different groups of teenagers and young adults.

I think the nameless company needed to be a little more generous with the 1-1/2″ length of the tickler if, in fact, it was to hit the knee. The only way this would’ve reached there was with a full-length above-the-knee skirt, totally taking ‘mini’ out of the equation. I’ve enhanced the Knee Tickler to about three times its actual size to demonstrate:

It would actually take ten Knee Ticklers to reach the knee were it attached to an actual miniskirt. I mean no copyright infringement to McCalls but I’ve doctored the image to demonstrate. The Knee tickers are almost double their real size because they’d be too small to see.

I always love a product that merely capitalizes on a craze as opposed to serving any real function. And regardless of whether the little gold ball bangs against your thigh or knee, I would think it was less of a tickling effect than a bruising one after it slapped against your skin all day. It would make a better lapel pin anyway.

But then it never could’ve had such a spectacular name.


Because I spend about 80% of my day squinting at screens of various sizes and working by the glare of them at night, eyeglasses have been a permanent part of my face for years. This never bothered me as I view these artifacts as part of the self-expression arsenal, equal status if not more to any piece of clothing, shoe or hairstyle used to distinguish oneself in the world. As a consequence, only having one pair of glasses never worked for me.

I like to pick a precision match with whatever I have on, the same way that socks always matter but are given so little attention by most people.

And those are only my red/orange shades. I also like glass holders because I don’t want to take up half my life searching for a pair I’ve laid down without any thought to remembering where that is. So I have a variety of vintage eyeglass holders scattered around for easy pickings.

The phrase “Here They Are Looking At You” was apparently very popular among eyeglass holder manufacturers.

Another type of eyeglass holder lets the glasses swing from wherever you choose to pierce some fabric.

But I love the one I’ve featured today because the colors are so vibrant,…

… and it’s a travel souvenir,…

…and it looks very much like a shop project. Judging from the bottom, maybe the city of Niantic planned a little event where all the citizens took part in a night of sawing and gluing.

Over the weekend I had to go to LA Eyeworks, where I’ve gotten all my glasses since the early 1980s, to pick up a new prescription.

I went with Prudence Fenton, who also took some specs on a test run.

LA Eyeworks makes great frames for very distinctive faces.

And I collect eyeglass holders for very distinctive glasses, all of which are better to see my morning coffee with.

In the spirit of poodles this week, I may as well throw in this fantastically 50’s mother of pearl, sparkle bumped, handpainted poodle compact. I’ve never had powder packed in it but I tote around a variety of small items in the mirror lined case.

Those are original Brown Derby portraits reflected in the top half.

They won’t fit inside the case as it’s a petite 3″ x 4″.  Maybe that’s why the little 3-dimensional glitter tufts of poodle fur look and feel so good, making up in beauty and depth what they lack in stature.

This poodle is happy about her look, painted much more distinctively than most poodles of her decade. I like that her bottom lip looks like a clock hand.

If ever there was an animal created to look at its reflection in a mirror it’s this most distinctive of canines.

I’m actually thinking a lot about distinctive animals today as I’m writing a fairly  twisted kids song with Bleu McCauley and Jasmine Ash for a tv idea we have. We play a porcupine, skunk and platypus. Not that any of them are as attractive as poodles but our animals are very proud that they don’t blend into the kingdom as just another animal.  Just like us.

Although some poodles don’t just “blend in”:

Here’s to people, animals and artifacts that hover above the crowd, embracing their uniqueness, with no desire to head towards the over-trodden intersection of Boring and Blending In.

As I said yesterday, I’m not one to randomly collect poodles just because they’re an endearing and iconic symbol of the first totally modern decade to which I am ever beholden, the 1950’s. But it dawned on me as I adopted Fifi the wastebasket that she was a perfect mate for this Kleenex holder that’s been riding around in the back seat of my car forever, always there in my time of nasal need for at least the last decade.

I have a lot of these tin-or-whatever-metal-they’re-made-out-of Kleenex caddies but this poodle coiffeur one has always been my favorite. Somehow poodles fluffing themselves in front of mirrors has always seemed logical.

Despite this Fifi missing her rhinestone eyeball she’s still handpainted poodle-perfect.

Had I been the crafter I would’ve gone for tiny little rhinestones around her neck too. But I always admire how they never skimped on the amount of paint needed in order to portray the fur accurately. Though it seems like the bottom of the legs deserved an extra little furball too instead of leaving it at the little tongs that stick out now.

The feet on the Kleenex box itself did get that extra little bit of attention. I love the little air holes pricked into them, though I would hope that any kind of liquid spillage would occur on the tissues only after they were out of the box.

This past weekend LA was in bloom with garage sales. I’ve tried resisting these for years, especially since opening The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com, as not only do I have the thousands of items in my own kitsch collection to store but these days I’m the happy recipient of at least a few boxes a month that arrive stashed full of other peoples’ kitsch. But I was tooling down Fountain Ave. and there she was staring at me, the classic bathroom or teenagers room accessory icon of the 1950s, lovely Fifi.

I love her fur.

I’m not a big one for collecting poodles or flamingos or any other kind of animal artifact that became uber-ubiquitous in a former decade. When I see peoples’ places stuffed with these kind of things I think that they might only be collecting to have a proper 1950’s collection as opposed to just buying individual things because they love them. But Fifi was calling me so I drove my car around the block, pulled up in front of the sale and for five bucks, Fifi was mine in the space of one traffice light. She hopped in the front seat and matched her new surroundings well.

The car was a couple weeks past when it needed to be washed so as I drove home I picked up bits and pieces of things scattered around the car every time I came to a stop and fed Fifi til she was almost full. She looked so great with the two-tone green seats that I toyed with the idea of making her a permanent fixture up front. But I came to an abrupt stop when someone’s car stalled in front of me and Fifi flew up full force, hitting me in the head and dumping garbage all over me. Not at all like the neat and petite little Fifi and her lobster claw paws delicately balanced next to her flower pots.

So I realize she needs to be an in-house pet and spent much of the day yesterday walking her from room to room to see where she fit best. I’m happy to report she’s now very happy next to her same species magazine rack.