March 30, 2010


Junior's beloved vintage Schwinn bike with the chopper handlebars, minus the banana seat, painstakingly assembled from bits and pieces by his loving Pop, was stolen. In broad daylight. Off our front porch. No witnesses :(

My So-Called Retro Life

It is Spring. I crawl out of the man-cave, take the first deep breath of fresh air and turn my face to feel the bask of the warm rays of a new day's sun. Yes, it is Spring...

Time to do some serious cleaning out the cobwebs of a long, long winter. A time to take stock of where we are in our grand experiment, of what has been accomplished in a year's time and with the return of warmer weather we can begin to plan what new things we want to make happen next.

Junior is Nine, and going on Sixteen it seems. He's got his own ideas what to do with his life and his room - he wants to keep the display of tin space toys, but has surprised me with a desire to return some of the old cowboy and horses theme he had when he was a mere child. He's also thinking of joining the Boy Scouts. How retro is that??

There's no cable television in our home. We're a year now living without and personally I don't miss it a bit! And I've taken ultimate control by unplugging the glut of undesirable content my nine-year old was being exposed to - even on the kids channels. Thanks to the wide variety of dvd offerings available now (I also allow Junior his video games), we have the best of both worlds, so to speak. Junior no longer lives in front of the tv screen. When he does view he enjoys watching classic westerns with the Old Man (The Magnificent Seven, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly), Lost in Space, The Abbott & Costello Show and more recently Sid Caesar.

Junior is always eager to show-off his skills on the blue 70's Schwinn Stingray (still trying to locate a sissybar for the banana seat). He loves to go camping and fishing. I can just smell the campfire now. Did I mention that he won't go to sleep at night unless he can listen to an episode from the Father Knows Best radio series? That's my boy!

The ranch home has come a long ways in a year... not as fast or as far as I'd like (what renovation, especially a retrovation ever does that?) But there's no mistaking what era this house harkens to.

A year ago the bath was stripped to the wall studs. The troubles I had with our retailer restocking plain black bullnose tile to finish the walls was even more monumental than locating a certain out-of-production faucet valve stem. Now its just hunting for the right accessories that fit the room - we have the medicine cabinet, sink, shelving, towel racks, hamper.... still hunting for the right bath mat and sink fixtures.

The livingroom... Oh yes, the living room. That abused wooden floor has been glaring up at me all winter long.

The kitchen has been the easiest to accesorize. I am convinced that when the menfolk pass on, the women toss out everything belonging to them into the waste can, but mothers pass on kitchen utensils to daughters as if they're the family treasures.

Storage. Another monster I've been dealing with in hand-to-hand combat, and not always getting the upperhand I might add. When these houses were built, American families didn't have/need all the daily items/things/junk that we load ourselves down with in the 21st century. Add to that, that I'm a natural horder and you know why I've got problems. The Attic crawlspace is filled to capacity, the basement crawlspace is choked, all my closets carry a warning "Open At Your Own Risk" and the storeroom is ummmm, let's just say its living up to it's name.

Finally, I long for a livable 9-5 employment. It's not much I ask. Just the simple desire to drop Junior off at school, then off to work, come home, eat dinner with my family on a daily basis, perhaps even weekends off for family outings! What's happened to us and the American Dream? The American employer is killing the American Family!

Whatever happens, this year is sure to bring us interesting adventures of retrovation a'plenty. But in the meantime I need to power up the Electrolux and vacuum Junior's dirty footprints from the imitation Himalayan Nanny Goat rug.

March 28, 2010

The Mad Men of Modern Design


For fans of Mid-Century modern design, this classic image from Playboy, July 1961 is like the Holy Grail. Design masters & fellow peers in their prime, beautifully captured in a time that was aesthetically crisp, uncluttered and innovative.

In the photo: George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom Playboy Magazine, July 1961.

Go to for the rest of the story.

March 23, 2010

What We Hope to Watch: Father Knows Best Season Four

Season Four! It's out today!
Father Knows Best: Season 4 @

Thanks to Shout Factory, the First Family of the Fifties has been given back to the faithful with a fourth collection on DVD. The 5 disc set contains 33 uncut episodes from the 1957-1958 season.
  • Will Betty finally get through one episode without experiencing a major crisis? (we can only hope and pray)
  • Will Kathy leave home to be a lady wrestler? (hmmm)
  • Will Bud go to college to become a brain surgeon? (no worries on that one)
  • Will Margaret pull off the rubber gloves and go on strike? (oh no!)
  • Will Father grow another gray hair with each episodic dilema? (of course!)
I'll have to watch each thrill packed episode to find out the answers to these and other pertinent questions. But where, oh where can one go to buy a copy???

In the mean time, check out the new and official FKB website :)

Video clip preview @

FKB: Season Four
Disc 1
101 Follow the Leader
102 The Awkward Hero
103 The Good Neighbor
104 Bud, The Executive
105 Sentenced to Happiness
106 Mother Goes To School
Bonus: Window on Main St
"The boy who got it made"

Disc 2
107 The Indispensable Man
108 Kathy's Big Chance
109 Margaret Learns to Drive
110 The Way of a Dictator
111 Mr. Beal Meets His Match
112 Kathy Makes a Wish
113 Man with a Plan
Bonus: Radio Program
A New Housekeeper

Disc 3
114 Big Sister
115 Calypso Kid
116 Father's Biography
117 The Rivals
118 Bud, the Mind Reader
119 Margaret's Other Family
120 The Trial
Bonus: Radio Program
New Arrangements

Disc 4
121 Revenge is Sweet
122 Country Cousin
123 Poor Old Dad
124 Betty's Crusade
125 Young Love
126 Tell It to Mom
127 A Friend In Need
Bonus: Radio Program
Vacation Arrives

Disc 5
128 A Medal For Margaret
129 The Weaker Sex
130 Jim, The Answer Man
131 Bud Quits School
132 A Matter of Pride
133 Betty Finds a Cause
Bonus: Window on Main St
"The Haunted House "

March 21, 2010

Steve McQueen's Atomic Pad

It's Steve McQueen's home... Need we say more?

"Inside His Hollywood Home
McQueen takes a call in the living room of his eclectic home in Hollywood. "Man, if I didn't make my own scene, I could have wound up a hood instead of an actor," he told LIFE at the time, reflecting on a rough-and-tumble past that included a stint in a school for problem kids and 41 days in the brig for going AWOL while in the Marines.
Photo: John Dominis/TIME & LIFE Pictures"

I ran across this gem a few weeks back originally through a Facebook feed. This must be shared.

Visit Steve McQueen: 20 Never Seen Photos / LIFE Magazine for more (sadly Blogger doesn't support the script to share these directly).

March 6, 2010

Junior's Pinewood Derby - the Pedal meets the Metal

Yes! It's the latest pine wood derby racer for the 2010 tourney, built by Team Von Clutch (Junior, Brother Dear and Pop a.k.a. myself).

Our team's T-shirt logo! Actually the car artwork is by Robert Williams (I "borrowed" this as a stand in since I didn't have time with being pit crew, mechanic, body specialist, and chief designer, to draw the artwork for our logo).

First - The Basics: Team Von Clutch chose to go with a more streamlined dragster design this year. Nearly 50% of the original block was removed.

And now, the final product! She's finished off in metal-flecked red, flames on the body, a very retro cow skull and just look at the engine!

Meet our team driver. He's very happy to be in this year's race. Asked what his feelings are about this years race, our driver's response was... well... somewhat unintelligible...

Yes, he may be a little green, but there's no mistaking we have the right guy for our car!

And theeeeey're off!

Good enough to bring home the trophy - Atta boy Junior!
Related Posts with Thumbnails