Monday, December 31, 2007


Vintage Ad #434: Polpettoni Saporiti, Chef Boy-ar-Dee Style
As it's New Year's Eve, may we offer this fine dining suggestion from the wonderful folks at Chef Boy-Ar-Dee?

While I don't recall ever buying the Chef's sauce on its own, Amy and I devoured Mini Ravioli, Beefaroni, Roller Coasters, Mini Bites and all of their related canned pasta dishes. We loved canned pasta as kids, except for a misstep the Chef made involving "Papa Smurf's special sauce". Mom had to make sure one of us didn't receive more meatballs than the other. I probably lost most of my taste for Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee due to a disgusting university roommate who liked using it uncooked as a sandwich filling.

Ettore (Hector) Boiardi (1897-1985) was a restauranteur in Cleveland who found take-out requests for his sauces so high that he opened a factory in the late 1920s to keep up with demand. Boiardi's products hit the national market just as spaghetti and others Italian foods became popular in American homes - his kits offered a quick, tasty, economical meal. The line's eventual name was based on the phonetic pronounciation of his name.

Here's Boiardi pitching his economical spaghetti dinner in 1953, as discovered by RW-TV:

Source: Family Circle, December 1967 - JB

Monday, December 24, 2007


Since today is Christmas Eve, it seems appropriate to sample part of a childhood favourite, 1978's Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. This harks from the days when Mr. Hooper was alive and well and nobody had heard of Elmo. The sample below includes one of my sister's favourite segments - Oscar the Grouch doing some amazing stuntwork after being flung off the ice at an arena.

There's also a great running gag involving Cookie Monster's attempts to contact Santa Claus. If at first you try pencil, then typewriter and fail at both, why not place a direct call to the North Pole?

You can find the rest of the special sprinkled throughout YouTube.


The Warehouse now takes its holiday break. There might be a posting or two over the next week, but chances are regular programming will resume just before 2008 arrives. - JB

Friday, December 21, 2007


Vintage Ad #422: Season's Greetings from Mario's Staff
As part of a Bramalea Town Centre flyer celebrating the holidays, we recently discovered this gem of an ad for the mall's salon. We think it was a nice gesture ti include a line for each employee, allowing potential new clients to zero in on who they'll choose for their first visit (though we'd like to know why Stella was good as gold).

There were a few employees who missed the photo shoot and didn't make the final ad. Our crack research team has discovered the lines that would have been used for these unfortunate souls.

MORGAINE - Our resident mystic will tell your fortune as she curls your locks.
SHEMP -This hair expert is no stooge.
BRUCE - Because laws enforcing stereotypes about those working in hair salons dictate that we have at least one employee named Bruce.
HEPZIBAH - A professional since 1916, let her 60-plus years of experience guide your hair through any time period. She will surprise you!

Source: The Toronto Star, December 7, 1977 - JB

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Going Up...
While cleaning out some files lying around the Warehouse computer pool, I discovered the following attempt to write a mock commercial. Based on experiences at the office, usually caused by employees of a certain public educational television network, it appears that I wrote this piece around October 2004.


The morning commute doesn’t end when you reach the office. There’s one more obstacle separating you and that 9 am meeting you’re running late for – the elevator.

Sure, you could take the stairs up to the 12th floor boardroom – but who wants to go into a meeting looking like they just ran the Boston marathon?

So, you grin and bear the ride up. (cut to boardroom of stern looking executives, then back to elevator rider) Now you’ve had it! (look of worry on rider's face). But now, thanks to Everyman Elevators, you don’t have to worry about obstacles such as these...

(cut to crowded elevator that appears to be stopping at every floor)

When the elevator is too claustrophobic for your taste, activate the "space" function.

ELEVATOR VOICE (a soothing, female voice):
There is no more room in this elevator. Please step back and wait for the next one.

(person attempting to cram in has a fierce, determined look on their face)

A force field will be activated, saving your sanity and allowing everyone else in the car to maintain their personal space.

Very well…

(person attempting to get on bumps into “force field”, then receives a shock and falls to ground)

They won’t try that again anytime soon.

(two businessmen are seen talking as the elevator doors open. One exits while the other continues gabbing)

People holding up the elevator to carry on a conversation? Never again with Everyman!

Hey, what else do we need for the meeting?

Hmm, give me a second…

Brain’s not in gear yet, is it? (laughs)

If you wish to continue this conversation, please leave the elevator immediately.

Did you hear that?


Nevermind...better go (starts moving away, then holds elevator door open again). Hey, have you got the tickets for the hockey game tonight?

(digs in pockets) Let me see…

Warning...failure to cease holding up the elevator in ten seconds will result in injury.

Hold on, almost got your ticket...

(An alarm sounds. All of a sudden, person 2 is propelled out of the elevator, as if something had come out of the floor of the car. Others in elevator smile. Fadeout image is stunned person 2 on floor)

Everyman Elevators. Going up for the little guy.

Photo taken at Buffalo City Hall, October 14, 2007 - JB

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Vintage Ad #341: Winter Warmer
Now that winter's here (OK, officially it's still a day or two off), it's time to dust off seasonal drink recipes for your next soiree or ski trip. The fine folks at Dr. Pepper developed "the Boomer" to warm your spirits. Only your digestive system will determine just how devilish this concoction is.

As one commenter noted when I posted this ad on Flickr, all that's missing are happy sweater-clad skiiers (it's hard to tell just what the stickman skiier on the right is wearing).

Source: Playboy, February 1966 - JB

Monday, December 17, 2007


Stormy Morning
As predicted, Toronto received a foot of snow yesterday. Not in the mood to have my face sandblasted, I postponed a planned afternoon gift exchange downtown and puttered around the house.

Most of the afternoon was spent either finishing off the reorganization of my CD collection, uploading photos from festive activities the day before or determining what to make for dinner.

Digging through the freezer, I found a package of quail I picked up at T&T ages ago, on the off chance I'd figure out some way of cooking them. After flipping through a mound of cookbooks I decided to improvise a meal, partly out of creativity, partly to use up the nuclear stockpile of food in the apartment.

The following recipe resulted:

Quail Simmered in Ancho-Chipotle Sauce
6 quails
1 onion
1 can diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers and onions (found at a grocery liquidator in Lancaster, PA)
1 can fine diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
2 cubes concentrated cilantro
generous shakes of ground chipotle
2 dried ancho peppers, cut up

In a large pot, saute onions until brown. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, cilantro, chipotle, ancho peppers and quails. Simmer at medium heat until you guess quails are somewhat cooked (about 30 minutes). Remove quails and place in a casserole dish. Ladle half the sauce on quails. Place in oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Bon appetit!

My experimenting paid off - the quails were cooked perfectly, with the chili-rich sauce providing a nice kick.

For the remaining sauce that wasn't poured over the quails, I tossed in a generous amount of lentils and simmered the mixture. The result was a spicy lentil/tomato/ancho pepper stew with a thick, tapanade-like texture. This pleased my stomach.

After dinner, I succumbed to cabin fever. The snow had stopped, garbage needed to be taken to the dumpster...any excuse for a short walk. I wandered along the Bayview strip in Leaside, where the air was filled with the sound of spinning tires. Side streets had not been plowed, resulting in deep trenches vehicles were barely able to manoeuvre out of. The weather hadn't stopped business at a few restaurants - the line almost went out the door at Amaya.

Spacing Toronto is collecting stories on how the storm affected you.

Photo of the official Warehouse Vehicle buried in the snow, December 16, 2007 - JB

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Queen and Dufferin
Photo taken at Queen and Dufferin, December 9, 2007 - JB

Friday, December 14, 2007


Previously: City Hall

After leaving City Hall we wandered around downtown for a few minutes, noticing the utter lack of life and ominous black smoke belched by a building close to where we parked. After lunch at a diner further up Main Street, we initially intended to check out the Darwin D. Martin complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Unlike City Hall, there appeared to be a lineup and we suspected we might not make one of the last tours.

Buffalo Central Terminal
We headed to the Buffalo Central Terminal. Located east of downtown,the station was opened by the New York Central Railway in 1929 and remained in use as a passenger station until Amtrak pulled out in 1979. Two decades of neglect and stripping of artifacts by various owners followed until the site was turned over to the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation in 1997. Since then, Volunteers have gradually restored the site. There's a long, long way to go, though the work to date gives a sense of how neglected the site was.

Stone and Broken Windows (2) Lower Area
We started by exploring the perimeter of the station, which combined ornate architecture and smashed windows.

The New York Central Railway Back Entrance
The back entrance to the main hall, which did not quite prepare us for what lay inside...

To Buses & Taxicabs To Street & Buses
To Train Concourse
Ticker Booths (1)
The three of us could only come up with two phrases to describe the terminal:

1) "Wow..."

2) "Holy shit!"

Imagine going on an archaelogical dig of a giant train station in the far future or after an apocalyptic event. It was a hard feeling to shake, combined with all the other ghostly sites we'd seen earlier in the day. Definitely one of the most awe-inspiring sights I have ever seen.

The Union News Company
Restoration work on a news kiosk. Another one was used as a booth for volunteer information and souvenirs.

Filiing Drawers
Furniture found in the former baggage check area.

The terminal has found all sorts of interesting uses in recent years, from artistic gatherings to weddings. Posters promoted an upcoming Halloween party. I suspect the transfer to the volunteer group was made just in time, or else the site could have decayed further to the state of ghost terminals like Detroit's Michigan Central Station.

All photos taken October 14, 2007. Full set on Flickr More stories from the day's adventures at Squiddity. - JB

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Vintage Ad #410: Lubrication is a matter of timing
Just because a lot of people I know could use an unintended-by-the-advertiser (maybe) cheap laugh this month...but if you're really interested in industrial-grade petroleum products, read on.

Source: Time, March 13, 1972 - JB

Monday, December 10, 2007


First off, a request - does anyone have any suggestions for Toronto neighbourhoods currently well lit/decorated for the holidays? I'm looking for areas to snap some photos. I know that perennial best bets include Lansdowne north of Bloor and the Bloor West Village strip, while a brief drive last night around Dufferin and Dundas showed promise.


Some readers may have been puzzled by Friday's entry. After an inspiring battle against cancer, site contributor Ken Trueman passed away last week.

The funeral was held on Saturday. Though there were many tears shed, it was a joyous celebration of his life, full of laughter and love. In some ways, it reminded me of Dad's sendoff - neither of them wanted family and friends to go through a grim procedural. You have to admire someone who departed this world to the full version of the Blue Jays theme song instead of a funeral dirge.

Your family and friends will have many memories to share for years to come.


After a post-service drink, I went to a Christmas party some friends threw. I overindulged in cookies and other holiday treats, some reminiscent of Mom's (I may ask the hosts to bring some goodies over the next time they come for dinner...). Midway through the night we played a board game called Battle of the Sexes, where my ability to retain useless information suddenly became useful. The object was to ask a male team questions females would know the answers to and vice versa.

The female team was stunned when I knew the answer to this question: who narrated the opening of Days of Our Lives?

I remember this clip from childhood channel flipping when I'd alternate between the only options for afternoon viewing, soap operas and educational programming. It always struck me as slightly odd that the star of the show would introduce themselves out of character in the opening credits - the closest example I've seen recently were the program lead-ins used on CBC.

Stumbling through other old soap intros on YouTube, I noticed many shows used cliched theme music straight out of 1930s radio broadcasts deep into the 1970s. Were there ironclad contracts with the organists union? - JB

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Wavelength (1)
The result of playing around in Photoshop with a fuzzy picture taken at an edition of Wavelength last month. The show featured several bands covering various Toronto-originated tunes, as a tie-in to the launch of GreenTOpia.

Photo taken at Sneaky Dee's, November 11, 2007 - JB

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Longtime readers may notice that I tend to change the banner and colour scheme of this site regularly, usually once a month. Since we're now into December, I figured something seasonal would be appropriate. I dug into my online archive of photos to see what might work.

The winner was a shot taken during my first Christmas, though some may argue I was around for the '74 holiday season in embryonic form. Space restrictions in the banner didn't allow me to use the whole picture, so here it is:

First Christmas With Child

This is a typical family scene from the first quarter-century of my life - Dad and I (or Amy when she arrived on the scene) doing something that amuses Mom. I'm pointing at something, perhaps training for my childhood habit of pointing down any road I wanted to explore on family drives. We lived in this house through my early teens, with the same layout up until we moved.

The Santa ornament in the foreground hung on the tree for years and still swings on Amy's tree. This tree lasted for three decades, until the colour coding on the branch wires wore off...which weren't really necessary towards the end, as knew where each limb was supposed to go.

Putting up the tree began with a trip into our large, slighty musty crawl space, where the Christmas decorations were buried back behind boxes of preserves, old football yearbooks and cheap mystery novels. The tree's location varied over the years - here it's in the upstairs living room, since my grandparents visiting from Toronto slept on the sofa bed in the basement. Usually we played our small handful of Christmas records while putting up the tree, featuring the good, bad and ugly of seasonal music (don't try to play the linked songs - they vapourized long ago). I would wake up around 3 a.m. to poke at whatever Santa brought, usually sneaking a chocolate coin and turning the TV on as quietly as possible. Mom and Dad probably knew I was up but left me alone to have my fun.

Photo taken in December 1975 - JB

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


A few scenes from a Psychogeography walk through the Financial District after the first major snowfall of the year...

Pink Tower (2)
The CN Tower in purple/magenta/pink mode, contrasted with fully-lit offices on the south side of King Street.

Eternal Flame of Hope (2)
Outside of Metro Hall, we gathered around the Eternal Flame of Hope, first lit by various dignitaries in 1996. The wind tried to snuff out the flame, but a hissing sound indicated this gas-fueled light wasn't going down without a fight. No fingers were singed while testing how close one could get to the fire. Further east, an Enbridge team was working on a steaming manhole, the likes of which I've usually seen only in Detroit.

Illuminated Walkway (1)
We wound our way down to the Bay Street entrance of Place (I'm still not used to the name change). Atop the illuminated walkway was Vibrant Communities in Focus (warning: link goes to Photosensitive site in general), an exhibit of works highlighting the effects of Ontario Trillium Foundation grants over the past quarter-century. I think my camera pulled through in capturing the lighting - I like the effect on those walking through the exhibit.

Brookfield Place Ceiling Lights Big Christmas Balls
Like most of the office towers we passed, Christmas lighting had been erected in Brookfield Place. Most of the group looked in awe at the sparkling lights hanging from the ceiling.

Cereal Under Glass
Seeing a fast-food stand that specializes in breakfast cereal, like this branch of Cerealicious in Royal Bank Plaza, feels odd, as cereal tends to be the ultimate in lazy cuisine. If had the room, this set-up would work fine in my kitchen, given the number of boxes sitting above my sink.

Amuse-O-Matic Centre
Over in Union Station, we quickly discovered the video arcade in the lower level. The 70s style letting in its sign provided a hint of some of the vintage games we discovered inside. Not since my days of leering over hardcore players while waiting for my Saturday morning bowling league to begin have I seen games like Burger Time and Gauntlet available for play.

Doctor Who Pinball (3)
A detail from a Doctor Who pinball game, one of several cult property tie-ins. The art for the Patrick Troughton-era grouping on the left looks to have been copied straight from a late 1960s production still.

Bopping Along
Among the newer games we were quickly hooked on was Dance ManiaX, which required a combination of dancing and air drumming to play. It also featured a duck springing forward from a cuckoo clock to the strains of Doodah!. Three tried it and quickly got into the game's groove.

Come As You Are...
The evening wound down at Jack Astor's at Front and University. As it was Grey Cup weekend, we saw numerous fans, including one with a scooped-out watermelon tightly affixed to his head (the effect of which reminded me a little of a Kids in the Hall character). Drawings, such as this one of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys, hung throughout the restaurant. A caricature of Dubya above our table was unusually critical for a chain restaurant, criticizing his lack of movement on global warming issues.

Full photo set on Flickr. All photos taken November 22, 2007 - JB

Monday, December 03, 2007


Vintage Ad #332: Viva Knievel Towels!
Legendary daredevil Evel Knievel died last week. To salute to all the broken body parts he endured through years of motorcycle stunts, we offer you this tie-in from the peak of his popularity. Evel batted .500 during his appearances on Wide World of Sports in 1975 - an attempted to clear 13 double-deckers in London in May went awry, while he succeeded in riding over 14 Greyhound buses in Ohio in October.

Given Evel's penchant for star-spangled costumes, this ad's appearance in an issue of Captain America seems appropriate. Cap was getting back on his feet after a few crashes of his own, having dropped the identity for nearly a year after a Watergate-inspired storyline led to our hero's loss of faith in his country. Besides, Marvel needed him back in costume for the bicentennial celebrations around the corner...

Disclaimer: The Warehouse is not responsible for any injuries incurred when attempting to jump over 10 beach towels placed side by side.

Source: Captain America & The Falcon #188, August 1975 - JB