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


Previously on Roadtrippin': A lot of buildings named after Andrew Carnegie.

Day 7: 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.

Next: A new adventure begins, as the family heads down to the nation's capital. - JB

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


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 - JB

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Ah, the hidden gems waiting to be found on YouTube.

Take this discovery...a Brazilian student graphic design project, this video is a remake of the opening of Chuck Jones' classic cartoon One Froggy Evening.

For comparison, here's the original 1955 cartoon...

Did You Know: The Michigan Rag was not a turn-of-the-century toetapper, but created for this cartoon by writer Michael Maltese and Jones. - JB

Monday, August 27, 2007


Interesting link: The Electroblog has a series of posts comparing photos taken downtown in 1977 and the same locations/photo angles in their present state. The series starts here - click on "next day" to go forward through the set.


Sign of a near-full moon yesterday: driving along College to drop off some DVDs, I had a series of near-accidents between Bay and Little Italy. There must have been a mind-control device perched along the street causing jaywalkers to dart right out into traffic (even saw one set oblivious to an oncoming streetcar). The closest I came to earning demerit points came at Manning, as a northbound cyclist decided to ignore a red light. He weaved all over the street, causing pedestrians and eastbound drivers to yell.


After surviving College, I stopped in at the new T&T Supermarket on Cherry St. T&T is an grocery chain that has expanded across the suburbs over the past few years, providing a wide variety of food across several cultures and a more aesthetically pleasing shopping experience than the stereotypical old school Asian supermarket. I tend to shop there often, usually to stock up the freezer or buy cheap exotic fruit, such as my new favourite salad ingredient, starfruit.

The new location was formerly a Knob Hill Farms, which I remember going to occasionally on visit to my grandparents. Even as a child, it struck me as a dump - there were always smashed items on the floor and cleanliness was among the frills that were discarded. Their "food terminal" moniker was appropriate, since the stores had an industrial warehouse feel. Years later, I stopped at their monster location in Cambridge, which struck me as the perfect post-apocalyptic supermarket, massive and decrepit, even though it opened in 1991. The shopping carts were flat, designed to hold cardboard boxes to place items in, though the boxes often slid off the end. The chain died in 2001.

How does the new T&T stack up to the others? It contains the elements from the suburban locations in compact form, making the bakery and produce sections feel much smaller. The main difference was far fewer samples on the outside track aisles, though to have as many as the Steeles/Middlefield store would severely cramp space. Otherwise, I suspect I will save some money on gas. - JB

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 - JB

Sunday, August 26, 2007


No, I Don't Want to be For Sale!
This gargoyle does not look too thrilled about his dwelling being put up for sale.

Photo taken on Dundas St. W. in The Junction, August 19, 2007 - JB

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

1,230: HUSK PARK

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.

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 - JB

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


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 - JB

We're not talking about the fabled Arctic shipping route, but the most recent Psychogeography walk.

Parashos (2) Parashos (1)
From Ossington station, we briefly headed east to Shaw St, to gaze upon one homeowner's tribute to Greek culture. I've driven down this stretch of Shaw many times but never noticed this home before. We also noticed several ornate gardens with near-mutant sized flowers - one homeowner looked unhappy with the attention we paid to their garden, while another encouraged us to take a sniff.

The Phantoms of Geary Ave
From Dupont, we followed the parks along the north side of the train tracks. While attempting to shoot a derelict building on Geary Ave, a slip of the hand resulted in this eerie picture. We soon hit a hydro corridor that headed northwest, taking us by more parks, a Portuguese food distribution and a side street full of neighbours hanging out.

Garden Sign
We left the corridor at Davenport and headed north along Lansdowne, cutting over to Earlscourt Park. A girls' soccer game was underway, where one of the coaches was agitated by his team's play, shaking the fence over some miscue. We passed by a garden, marked by the sign above.

A Rainbow of Gelato Group with Gelato
Next stop was next door on St. Clair, for a round of gelato at La Paloma. Among my choices was the bright blue tangerine-flavoured flavour (name escapes me), reminiscent of a popsicle.

Good Luck Elephants
We worked it off by strolling east on St. Clair, noting the high number of shoe stores and low number of people out wandering. There were plenty of good luck elephants...

The night ended on a patio on Davenport, where the staff generously provided food and a place to sit after both the kitchen and outdoor seating had officially closed.

Full photo set on Flickr. - JB

Monday, August 20, 2007


Previously on Roadtrippin': Our intrepid traveller goes to the Strip and doesn't lose his clothes.

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.

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... - JB