Friday, August 31, 2007

vintage amazing spider-man ad of the day

Vintage Ad #345: Super Book Covers
This week's Warehouse back-to-school special: book covers of your favourite Marvel heroes. Whether these are as fascinating as the vendor's name is up to you, our humble customer.

Disclaimer: As the dimensions of the covers are not specified in the ad, we cannot guarantee that these will fit every project. We are also not responsible if the book cover owner starts peppering their speech with "Sweet Christmas!" or "Hulk smash!"

Source: Amazing Spider-Man #163, December 1976 - JB

let the electoral games begin...unofficially

Warehouse Election Central

The official start to the Ontario election campaign is September 10th, but we are effectively in the heat of battle now. Party platforms are creeping into media outlets, campaign offices have secured real estate and nasty commercials have started. For politcal junkies, September is going to be a fantastic month.

The Warehouse isn't one to be left out in the cold, so the WEC desk is back in business. From now until voting day, expect occasional entries on odd sights during the campaign, sign aesthetics and whatever else tickles our funnybone or makes us want to lob pies at the party leaders.

***

In the Warehouse's home riding, incumbent Michael Bryant has been in reelection mode for awhile. Several weeks ago, Bryant campaign workers staffed a booth outside Davisville subway station, offering up sweaty commuters a cool drink. Along with other regional Liberal MPPs, Bryant ads have popped up in bus shelters that aren't explicitly election posters, but pretty much are.

Hold The Burgers, Here's the Election Signs
This sign-festooned campaign headquarters has stood out on recent treks along St. Clair. The site was previously home to the Queen's Dairy restaurant, which used HRH as its logo (though fading, then a last-ditch paint job, made the Queen look more like Princess Margaret as time wore on).

No Parking at Campaign Headquarters
Two items to note: the old-school burger joint interior lighting and the enforcement of the "No Parking" sign.

***

Spacing Votes is also back up and running, combining analysis and links to election-related coverage in the local papers. As other comprehensive election sites crank into gear, the WEC desk will toss up the links.

***

One of the major issues locally will be public transit. The TTC recently launched a public survey to help determine any cuts that may be undertaken in the wake of the recent city budget fiasco (side note: is there a new law stating that councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong must be quoted in every article related to city politics?). Torontoist has created an expanded version of the survey, with additional questions fillingin areas the official survey overlooked. - JB

Thursday, August 30, 2007

this roadtrip has seven days: day seven


Pittsburgh, PA to Amherstburg, ON
Had I followed my original plan, the subtitle of this post would swap Amherstburg for Cleveland, as I had intended to spend a night by Lake Erie. When I saw the first mileage marker on my way out of Pittsburgh, I realized it was going to be a short drive to Cleveland...which also made me realize that I was well within driving distance of A'burg. As fatigue was creeping on me, I decided I could save some energy (and a few dollars) and head home.

With this new plan, I also decided to switch routes. I had been to Cleveland several times, but never through central Ohio, so this seemed like a good opportunity to explore as I slowly drifted back to the Great White North. One stop at a Welcome Centre later, I was off the Ohio Turnpike and onto the back highways.

First stop: Kent.

Tin Soldiers And Nixon Coming
We're Finally On Our Own (title to come)
Several pictures from the site of the 1970 Kent State Massacre. Wandering around, I couldn't get Neil Young's song out of my head..

Four Dead In Ohio
A set of pillar marking where one of the four victims fell. The others had stones formed in various patterns within the rectangle.

From Kent, I headed southeast. Had I decided to stay the night, I might have explored Akron (where Goodyear headquarters looms over the freeway) and Canton (for a stop at the Football Hall of Fame). Instead, going with an earlier theme in the trip, I headed along route 39 through Ohio's Amish country, which my parents visited a decade ago.

The Little Switzerland of Ohio Scenery You Definitely Won't See In Ohio
Yes, you can experience a block of the wonders of Switzerland in Ohio. I didn't stop in Sugarcreek, instead stocking up on more preserves and sauces at various spots down the highway in Berlin.

Mad Anthony St Tom Dick & Harry Alley
This stretch of the state also seems to be home to many oddball street name. I suspect Mad Anthony St. in Millersburg is named after General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, a commander in regional native wars in the 1790s. No explanation for Tom, Dick and Harry Alley in Perrysville. At first I thought it was a vanity sign, but it is a legitimate roadway.

Mechanics Building and Loan Company Need Customers?
Two pictures from downtown Mansfield. On the left, an interesting old bank. On the right, a lame attempt by the billboard company for street credibility. The downtown parking meters remind motorists to drive carefully to save lives.

After a stop in Toledo (to be covered in a future post, as it involves a piece of my childhood that has decayed), I sped back to Detroit, filled up on Mexican food and crossed back into Canada with no incident. Turned out the guard was a former student of Dad's who admired him, so the likelihood of a repeat of the incident going into the US was unlikely.

I drove back to Mom's and thought about where to drive in 2008.

Full photo set on Flickr.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

one fine evening above the brickworks

1,236: ONE FINE EVENING ABOVE THE BRICK WORKS

Skyline from the Don Valley Brickworks

Sitting at the Overlook (1)

Sitting at the Overlook (2)
When photos don't turn out so hot in their original form, it's Photoshop to the rescue...or at least a chance to play with images like a kid who's been unleashed with a box of crayons (though in my case, that usually meant scribbling indecipherable stories in my picture books).

The lookout above the Don Valley Brick Works provides a great view of the city, especially at night. From the onetime top of a quarry, one can look over to the downtown skyline or traffic whizzing by on the Don Valley Parkway. Despite the latter's presence, it is a peaceful spot. Unlike the last time I was up there, we didn't have to escape via a private backyard.

Note how the lights on Bayview, DVP and other area roads combine in the top picture to form a golden string of light that winds it way into downtown. It resembles an illuminated trail to carry people from the darkness into the distant city, even if the path is winding its way out of the picture.

These photos were taken on last week's Psychogeography walk, which stretched from Broadview subway station to Yonge and St. Clair. Along the way, we roamed through Todmorden Mills and followed the ravine from the Brick Works through to the north end of Rosedale.

All photos taken August 23, 2007 

Monday, August 27, 2007

what do marvel super heroes do on their day off?

Vintage Ad #271: What Does The Hulk Do On His Day Off?
We suspect most heroes follow the Thing's route of relaxation, as did readers of Fun and Games. This comic book/puzzle magazine hybrid had a short, 13-issue run, which ended a month after this ad appeared. The series had a Canadian link, as it was developed and drawn by Halifax cartoonist Owen McCarron.

We won't dig too deeply into what exactly turned Spider-Woman on.

Marvel Super-Heroes began its life as Fantasy Masterpieces in 1966, a series that reprinted a mixture of 1940s superhero tales and late 1950/early 1960s monster stories. The latter were dropped when the title changed with issue #12 in 1967, replaced by new stories intended to introduce new characters or spotlight existing ones without a series, a la DC's Showcase (with the exception of a Spider-Man tale in #14 not drawn by the web-spinner's regular art team). With #21, the title switched to 1960s Marvel reprints, including early tales of the X-Men and Daredevil. The Hulk took over the lead reprint spot with #32, sharing the book with the Sub-Mariner through #55. The series lasted through 1982, with its last issue (#105) among the first comics I bought used.

Links: Grand Comics Database entries for Fun and Games and Marvel Super-Heroes.

Source: Marvel Super-Heroes #90, August 1980 

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

husk park

Cleaners
Hamilton Avenue
A separate city located within the boundaries of Detroit, Highland Park could be a poster child for how far urban blight and decay can go. Recently, Amy and I drove along Hamilton Avenue (where this shot was taken) and the surrounding neighbourhood. We've driven through many rough-looking parts of Detroit, but this may have been among the bleakest sections we've ever gone through. We lost count of the number of hollowed-out businesses, wide-open apartments, burned-out homes and lots returning to a natural state.

Former Hamilton Avenue Businesses
Hamilton Avenue

There are numerous factors for this state of affairs. Ford Motor Company, which built the Model T in Highland Park, closed its plant back in the 1950s. "White flight" began shortly thereafter, accelerating after the riots south of the city in 1967. Two decades later, Chrysler moved its world headquarters to the suburbs. City finances deteriorated to the point that the state stepped in to handle the city's fiscal affairs earlier this decade. While new developments have sprung up on Woodward Avenue and some historic neighbourhoods remain in relatively decent shape, the areas we drove through were jaw-dropping.

78-80 Glendale
Glendale Avenue
Apartments on Hamilton Avenue
Hamilton Avenue

Two of the many apartment buildings we drove by, many built in the 1920s and 1930s. In several, it was easy to look into the upper floors from street level.

Burned Out
Side street east of Hamilton Avenue
Various elements combined for an odd drive along Hamilton. The road was being ripped, with many ruts and barrels for barely-held together pickups to dodge around. The only true sign of life we saw was a wedding party.

Muharjirin Islamic Center
Hamilton Avenue

Even storefront religious centres were boarded-up husks.

Links:
Official site of the City of Highland Park.
Model D guide to Highland Park, putting a positive spin on attempts to redevelop the city (mostly on or east of Woodward).
McGregor Library, a beautiful piece of architecture that the city's financial woes have shuttered since 2002.
Detroitblog posts mentioning Highland Park.

All photos taken August 11, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

more meaty delights from burns

Back in March, I posted a series of ads of meat products with varying degrees of edibility produce by Burns & Co. in the late 1940s. Fine products such as Spork, Speef and tinned fried hamburgers.
Turns out I missed at least one ad in the Burns campaign.

Vintage Ad #330: Hash, Franks and Chili
The potatoes in the hash are finely chopped alright - it's hard to distinguish them from the corned beef or whatever bovine byproduct was tossed in the vat.

One can still find versions of franks n' beans in the musical fruit section, but how many claim to have a "delightful oriental-spiced tomato sauce"? My guess? A dash of soy sauce.

As for the chile con carne, how spicy is a Spanish smile? If compared to types of pepper, would such a smile rank as bell, jalapeno or Scotch Bonnet?

Source: National Home Monthly, July 1948

Monday, August 20, 2007

this roadtrip has seven days: day six, part two

Day 6: Pittsburgh, PA (Part 2)

Incline Railway Heinz Field
The rain started up again as I left the Strip, scotching plans to wander around the core of the city. I drove around, tangling myself up in a mess of one-way streets, crossing the three rivers a few times. Not many opportunities to shoot pics out of the car, but I managed to capture these shots of Heinz Field (home of the Steelers) and the incline railway.

With no sign of the rain ending, it seemed like the perfect time to head to the Carnegie Museums on Forbes Avenue. The Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Natural Science share the same complex, with floors of each museum colliding into each other, especially due to renovations and installations. If you tire of the arts, you're only steps away from nature.

Chairs
A room of chairs.

The Great Love
The Great Love, Robert Indiana, 1966. I associate this with a US postage stamp from my childhood collection.

Vigilant Fire Company Bob
Bob, The Vigilant Fire Company's Dog, H. Rebele, 1863. From the museum's website:
According to the inscription, this portrait by H. Rebele was donated to the fire company by J.R. S[illegible]th and D. Kloppman three years after Bob's death by poison. Mysteries abound. Was Bob's death deliberate or an accident? How did the artist, a German fresco painter living in Pittsburgh from 1856 to 1868/9, know what Bob looked like? Is this portrait based on a photograph, or a verbal description of the deceased, or perhaps the appearance of one of Bob's relatives?
All of these mysteries may explain why this painting caught my eye, along with the odd look in his eye and "odd-man-out" quality compared to the other works around it (mostly landscapes).

Rites of Springtime
Rites of Springtime, Gianni Toso, 2006. Part of the Viva Vetro! exhibition of contemporary glasswork from Venice and America.

Ornate Elevator Stratavater
Elevator. Stratavator. See the difference?

Famous Birds
Birds of a feather flock together...imagine a conversation between Opus and Foghorn Leghorn.

Battling Deer
I wondered if I had been trailed by these battling deer since I first encountered their brethren in Albany.

Barnes & Noble Manor Cheaper Peepers
After the museums, I continued east along Forbes, stopping for a stroll in Squirrel Hill. Left: an intriguing combination of old movie theatre and megabookstore chain (unlike TO, where the former has became the latter, a la the Runnymede). Right: cheap glasses on Forbes. More on the neighbourhood.

One Lane Underpass (1) One Lane Underpass (2)
After a quick Middle Eastern meal in Oakland, I slowly made my way back to the hotel. I followed the sidestreet I parked on downhill, ending up at a one-lane underpass.

The sign did not lie.

Full photo set on Flickr.

Next: Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we're finally on our own...

Friday, August 17, 2007

warehouse video game department

While I never owned a plug-into-the-TV video game system until I was pushing 30, I often played with Atari, Colecovision, Videorama, etc. at many friends' homes growing up. I usually passed level one of play about 20% of the time, but it was fun. Digging through stacks of cartridges to find the next game to get royally clobbered at.
Now you can create your own mythical games thanks to the Atari 2600 Label Generator.

Digging through the closest cache of pictures, here's a piece of Canadian history turned into thrilling gameplay...



The game: English and France are at battle for control of Quebec in 1759. Players choose a blue (France) or red (England) soldier to shoot at the enemy to win the battle of the Plains of Abraham. Bonus points for shooting at the occasional bird that flies by...but beware of the poop they spew!

Bonus Feature: There is one Atari commercial that sticks out in my mind, mostly because I was razzed by my peers for admitting I hated it. Several kids decided to sing the jingle at any opportunity to see what my reaction was, at least until the novelty wore off. Older me finds the ad charming for the oh-so-80s graphics used.

Ladies and germs, the Tubes for Megamania.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

scary santa department

On our way back from a family vacation to Ottawa, we stopped in Merrickville. Mom quickly discovered was full of her kind of gift and home decor stores. Among them was a Christmas store, in which Mom was like a kid in a candy shop...
...with one notable exception.

Scariest Santa Ever?

I was the first to run into Santa. His bulging eyes, lifelike craftsmanship and axe-murderer demeanour caused me to jump. This picture does not do his eyes justice - a side view would review they protruded at least an inch from their sockets. Mom and Amy looked in disbelief. Other customers shared my reaction. I wondered if it was a Halloween item in disguise, for those people who want something scary for October, but secretly can't wait for those radio stations that switch to an all-Xmas format on November 1st.

I definitely wouldn't want to see this Santa coming down my chimney, unless I was fully armed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

are you lonely, and need advice from a friend wearing a large hat?

Vintage Ad #317: Are You Lonely...
Would you trust your deepest problems that you cannot discuss with anyone else to a person who looks as if they just walked off the set of a B-movie western? Perhaps that was the level of comfort the editors believed would help the lonely hearts this Depression-era spin on the friendship ad would have appealed to.

Given the time period, I suspect Joan received a mailbag full of woe.

Source: National Home Monthly, May 1935 

Monday, August 13, 2007

how to make statues of canadian actors scary

Evil Al
Need to an an evil touch to statues of beloved local entertainers? Just make a trip to the nearest convenience store!

While out on a Psychogeography walk a couple of weeks ago, we noticed that as we snapped pictures of group members posing with the statue of Al Waxman in Kensington Market, a weird red glow glared back at us from Al's eyes. It turned out that red gummy bears had been strategically placed on the statue. All that was needed was minilights to add a glowing, statue-come-to-life effect.

Squiddity has a full write-up on this particular walk, which introduced many of us to parts of Kensington we didn't know (the rooftop CN Tower model? Ornate back alley gardens?) along with pictures. I've posted a set on ye olde Flickr site.

Photo taken at Bellevue Square Park, August 2, 2007 - JB

Friday, August 03, 2007

the toronto subway song

Recently, I was contacted by the proprietor of I'm Learning to Share for background information about a 78 he found, Sunday in Toronto/The Toronto Subway Song, recorded by local bandleader Ozzie Williams in the early 1950s. We swapped a few e-mails, resulting in crossover entries on our sites (it's the wondrous Warehouse age of collaboration!). Check out the partner post for pics of the record and more .

For the dawn of the Yonge subway line, check out the thorough history over at Transit Toronto.

As for no fun on Sundays...

Once upon a time, Toronto shut down on Sundays. If you were a good, upstanding, preferably Protestant citizen, Sunday was strictly for church and family. Shopping? Evil. Recreational sports? Devil's work. Member of a faith whose holy day was any other day? Sorry! The overreaching moral views that created the Sunday blue laws stretched into other areas, producing effects like a strong film censor office and a labyrinth of laws regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol. These were among the reasons the city came to be known as "Toronto the Good".

Even streetcar service was considered blasphemous. As Mike Filey notes in A Toronto Almanac, opponents of votes on Sunday service in the mid-1890s portrayed Sunday transit as "a desecration of the Sabbath" and "the work of the Devil". It took three civic votes before service was approved in May 1897, by a margin of 222 votes.

With nothing to do in Toronto, little wonder people took the advice of the song and shuffled on down to Niagara. I recall Dad grumbling about the long traffic jams on QEW, especially over the then one-span Burlington Skyway.

Cracks in Sunday laws came slowly. Professional baseball games weren't allowed until the late 1930s. Future mayor Allan Lamport led the battle for full approval of any Sunday sporting activity, which succeeded in a public vote in 1950. At the same time, several grocery stores attempted to break the law, beginning periodic battles that peaked in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Eventually, the loosening of spiritual ties and a diverse base of new immigrants to the city would hammer nails into many of these blue laws.

***

My search for quick information about Club Kingsway ran into dead ends. I scoured various newspapers from the 1930s through 1960s, but all I could find was an ad that appeared intermittently in the Toronto Telegram during the fall of 1948, featuring today's artist:

Vintage Ad #314: Weekend Dancing in Toronto, 1948
A phone number, but no address. Frustrated by these dead ends, I now realize that I probably should have tracked down a late 1940s phone directory...but that's for another day. The city archives hold a picture of either South Kingsway or Riverside Dr "taken from in front of the old Club Kingsway" circa 1912. A online search through archive holdings reveals several documents from the Swansea Area Ratepayers' Association regarding traffic issues with Club Kingsway in the 1960s and 1970s, opposition to Sunday bingo in the late 1970s and a land use committee to determine the redevelopment of the site. Though the records themselves aren't online, the latter finally reveals an address: 100 The Queensway.

If you know more about the location, leave a comment.

Ad source: Toronto Telegram, September 16, 1948 

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

state-o-maine robes for stately men

Vintage Ad #300: Man Observing Mobile of Fish
Where to begin with today's find...

* It's obvious this relaxed businessman takes great pride in his hobby of crafting fish mobiles. How much pride? He colour-matched the dots on his robe with the fish on the bottom.

* We're taking the high road and avoiding any jokes revolving around the robe being "as free-swinging as a mobile in its lightness" and the subliminal implications this could cast on its wearer.

* The ad fails to mention that this robe is also available for $7.95 in the not-as-good stores and $2.95 in the beneath-the-dignity-of-New-Yorker-readers stores (smelt and Boston scrod colours only).

* The brand name, State-O-Maine? The image this conjures up is the trained bear in the early going of John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire (not to be confused with Susie the Bear later in the book, who was a much smarter bruin. Did I also mention I was briefly nicknamed "Egg" by my father after another character in the story?).

This robe might be a step up from the Dorcus collection. Might.

Source: The New Yorker, November 21, 1953