20091231

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE - May 2010 Be The Year for Peace & Prosperity for Us All

On this last day of the year 2009 I am looking back not just through the last twelve months but back over fifty years to the typical New Year's Eve celebrations of my childhood family. Our New Year's Eves were quiet and usually just our immediate family of my Mom, Dad, my sister Patty, Butthead (my older brother), me and our family dog, Rinty.

If we were very young Mom and Dad would send us to sleep but wake us up just before midnight to usher in the New Year. As we grew older we were allowed to stay up until midnight though we often fell asleep on the floor or the couch waiting for the next year to ring in. We always had a small buffet of cold cuts, my Dad's famous Blue Cheese Dip (served on Ritz crackers) and we toasted the New Year with 7-Up. We had bubbly - it just wasn't 80 proof, lol.

Just before the clock struck twelve we would all go outside - coats over our jammies - wait for the local church bells to signal the New Year had come and then we would all yell "Happy New Year" to world. Believe it or not, this was not unusual on our block and we would often be hollering along with many of our neighbors. We'd stand there and shiver while we watched the fireworks from a nearby park, then we would come in, grab home made cocoa and cookies to warm up, and Mom would play her original 78 recording of Guy Lombardo's version of "Auld Lang Syne". Mom would send us to bed when the needle hit the last note.

So, to me it's not officially a New Year until I've eaten a little Blue Cheese Dip, had my bubbly (nowdays the adult versions), watched some fireworks (these days on TV), wished Happy New Year to my family by lighting candles, and then listened to Guy Lombardo's version of "Auld Lang Syne".

At the bottom of this post are the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne in modern English so you can sing along to welcome in the year 2010 with a little bit of big band nostalgia:


Mom and Dad, there isn't a New Year that passes that I don't play this song on New Year's Eve in your memory. This post is dedicated to you, Patty and all my "old acquaintances that shall not be forgot".

To my readers, thank you for reading and joining me on my little journey through nostalgia during 2009 and the past 3 years.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU
May 2010 Bring Us All
Peace, Prosperity and Hope
WELCOME 2010!

Auld Lang Syne
originally written by Robert Burns - 1788

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of old lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS


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20091228

ALVIN!!!!! The Chipmunks celebrate their 51st Birthday!

I really don't know if Alvin, Simon and Theodore had birthdays, but fifty one years ago a little song called "The Chipmunk Song" (which you will probably remember better as "Christmas Don't Be Late") hit number one on the music charts. So, even though their birth occurred in the mind of Ross Bagdasarian sometime in 1958, I kind of think of today as their birthday.

The very first record I ever owned was The Chipmunks Album which included this song. I got it for Christmas along with my first little record player and I'm sure my parents were a bit sorry they had given those two gifts to me after I played that album over and over and over.

The Christmas Song from the 1961 cartoon:


If you're planning on taking your grandkids to see "Squeaquel", here's a little historical background on The Chipmunks you can pass on to your grandchildren when they go on about these "new singing chipmunks" Alvin, Simon & Theodore:

Alvin, Simon and Theodore were created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958 and Mr. Bagdasarian did all the voices of the Chipmunks as well as the voice of their manager/father figure, David Seville. David Seville was Bagdasarian's stage name and each of the Chipmunks was named after an executive at their original record label, Liberty Records: Alvin Bennett (the president), Simon Waronker (the founder and owner), and Theodore Keep (the chief engineer). You might also be surprised to learn that Bagdasarian also wrote "The Witch Doctor"!

The famous high pitched voices of the Chipmunks was created by speeding up Bagdasarian's own voice recordings - a method he had used in The Witch Doctor. His exceptional use of this technique for The Chipmunks earned him/them two Grammy Awards for engineering.

Interestingly, Alvin, Simon and Theodore made their first public appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show as puppets! Below is that appearance in a wonderful Chipmunk History video hosted by Will Smith/The Fresh Prince. The Sullivan clip appears around the 2:30 time marker:


You can view Part Two and Part Three of this fun Chipmunk special which includes them doing songs of some of the greats of music from the baby boomer generations at YouTube.

A few years later The Chipmunks showed up on our television consoles as animated characters in The Alvin Show, originally filmed in black and white and later colored for reruns. The Alvin Show aired from 1961 - 1962 and was one of a very few animated series that were aired in prime time - which is probably the reason for it's short life. I always found it interesting they named the first animated series after Alvin alone - to me what would Alvin be without his second, third and fourth bananas - Simon, Theodore and David? By the way, does anyone else out there remember the other characters featured in this first series - Clyde Crashcup and his assistant Leonardo?

Today, even though the Chipmunks are almost old enough to be baby boomers themselves, they are still rockin', making movies and bringing joy to another generation of children. Like all of us the Chipmunks have gone through some changes over the last half century, but I have to admit I am partial to the look of them back in my day, if only for the sake of nostalgia. However, I am happy to see that Alvin still has his signature cap tilted at that cocky angle!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALVIN, SIMON & THEODORE
& David Seville too!
Thanks for half a century of childhood music and laughs.

Visit The Official Chipmunks Website

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20091222

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN - History of the most famous snowman of all.


I was out browsing through a small second hand store and I found this 58 year old copy of Little Golden Books Frosty The Snowman. As I picked it up and opened the cover I could caught that musty "old book" smell - what a flood of memories that brought back! As I leafed through the little book I was taken back fifty years to all the Little Golden Books we had in our home.

T
he inside front cover was exactly like the ones in my books - remember this iconic yellow graphic inside all your "Little Golden Books"? Honestly, between the smell and seeing the inside front cover with a little place to write your name I was instantly transported back to the mid 1950s. If you look close you will the two children's names written in pencil - Darcy and, in bolder scribbling underneath, Liz:

Well, Darcy and Liz, we had the same taste in books as kids I guess! I wonder, did the both of you have a favorite figure on this yellow page? Mine was the fun little yellow taxi cab, though I did have a fondness for that little artist kitty with the beret and paintbrushes too!


Frosty The Snowman was first written as a song by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson and was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950.


The song inspired this book, as well as a three-minute animated short entitled "Frosty" which appeared regularly on WGN-TV.


In 1969 a thirty-minute animated television special of Frosty the Snowman premiered which featured the
voice of Jimmy Durante as narrator and Jackie Vernon as Frosty.


It's always interesting to me to see how the commercial art of different eras changes with each generation. This little book's illustrations are a perfect example of the style of the late 40s and early to mid 1950s. You will see this same look in advertisements and fashion illustrations of the day. You can see the changes in art styles when you look at the full length cartoon with Jimmy Durante singing the title song. You can see today's styles by visiting Little Golden Book's "Books and More" page.

Little Golden Books
turned 67 this last September. When their books first hit bookshelves in 1942 they cost twenty-five cents! Today new versions sell for around $2.99 each. I paid fifty cents for my lovely, well preserved 1951 copy of "Frosty The Snowman" at the thrift store and I think it was the best investment I've made in a very long time. That fifty cent expenditure has given me back some wonderful memories of my childhood and my love of reading. It has the added advantage of being created the same year as I was, 1951, so we are the same age!

Right now that Little Golden Book on "Frosty The Snowman" is sitting next to my little Christmas Tree. It is now a treasured member of my favorite Christmas ornaments and will come out every year to bring me joy - just like Frosty comes back again some day!

I wish you all the
HAPPIEST of HOLIDAYS
& a Very Merry Christmas!


Fair Use Rationale:
Please see this page on Wikipedia for an explanation of my Fair Use rationale. I use these images as commentary illustration of a wonderful line of children's books from my childhood. I have provided only low resolution images & have provided a link to Little Golden Books. All the images link to the Little Golden Books website as well: http://www.randomhouse.com/golden/lgb/story.html. If you are the holder of any of the involved copyrights and wish me to remove these images please contact me through a comment and I will immediately remove them from this blog in respect of your intellectual property.

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20091218

IT'S A VERY BEATLES CHRISTMAS - Beatles Christmas Recordings from 1963 - 1969


Did you know The Beatles sent out special Christmas recordings to their Official Fan Club every year from 1963 to 1969? Only members of their Official British Fan Club got all of these, those of us who lived on the other side of the Pond got edited versions or just postcards!

They're a mixture of the typical irreverence, humor, talent and creativity that was unique to The Beatles. I was lucky enough to have a friend in England who signed up for me there so I got copies of all the British releases and they were wonderful. I also signed up in the States. I wish I still had them - any of them, even the few U.S. edited records - but I don't.

These are not your typical Holiday Greetings so if you're a traditionalist listen with an open mind because you are not going to hear a traditional Jingle Bells or standard carol among them. Oh, you'll hear Jingle Bells but not in any way you've heard it before, lol. You will also hear - maybe for the first time - a Christmas song written by the Beatles. You will also enjoy a surprise or two.

In 1970 The Beatles' Christmas Album (U.S.) or From Then to You (UK), was released as a compilation album of these Christmas records and was released to the general public.

So, have a very Beatles Christmas today with these rare Christmas recordings from the Fab Four:

Here's The Beatles 1963 Christmas Record sent to their Official Fan Club Members. The first of 7 sent out. U.S. fans received an edited version.


The Beatles 1964 Christmas Record. In America we got an edited version of this with the record on cardboard. Guess we were sort of the poor white trash cousins of British fans!


The Beatles 1965 Christmas Record was recorded on November 8th and Released on December 17th, 1965. U.S. Fans did not receive this record! Such a bummer! We got a postcard instead!


The Beatles Fourth Christmas Record (1966) Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas is based on the Goon Show comic skits they'd grown up on as kids. (Another stinkin' postcard for us U.S. fans!)


The Beatles 1967 Christmas Record- Christmas Time Is Here Again! Recorded November 28, 1967 contains a new, real Christmas song by them. (Yup, we Yanks got shortchanged again!)


The Beatles 1968 Christmas Record was pieced together with separate messages from each Beatle as they were not speaking at the time. Tiny Tim guested! (Finally,we got a record - an edited version but better than a postcard!)


The Last Beatles Christmas Record from 1969 includes Yoko and Ringo designed the cover with the back cover done by by Zak Starkey, Ringo's son. (This last year of the records we American fans finally got an unedited version of the record!)

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20091217

13 SANTA CLAUS JOKES for a MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON

13 MERRY LITTLE JOKES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
  1. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live ~ George Carlin
  2. Let's be naughty and save Santa the trip ~ Gary Allan #Christmas
  3. The Bermuda Triangle got tired of warm weather. It moved to Alaska. Now Santa Claus is missing ~ Stephen Wright
  4. Santa's elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses - Unknown
  5. A cynic is just a man who found out when he was about ten that there wasn't any Santa Claus, and he's still upset ~ James Gould Cozzens
  6. I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included ~ Bernard Manning
  7. Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year ~ Victor Borge
  8. Santa wears a Red Suit, He must be a communist, & a beard & long hair, Must be a pacifist. What's he smoking in that pipe? ~ Arlo Guthrie
  9. Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit ~ Anonymous
  10. You know you're getting old, when Santa starts looking younger ~ Robert Paul
  11. Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present ~ Anonymous
  12. Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody ~ Ogden Nash
  13. A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together ~ Garrison Keillor

Check out The POP ART DIVAS - Original Miniature Paintings by PopArtDiva
Prices for originals starting at $20!


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20091216

New INSPIRATIONAL POP ART DESIGNS from The PopArtDiva Gift Gallery

I just uploaded these new designs to The PopArtDiva Gift Gallery this week. They are part of my Inspirational Series and were inspired by a line of hand painted t-shirts I created some years ago. I always liked the loose abstract brushwork style of these shirts - they reminded me of fireworks mixed in with hearts, stars, butterflies and dragonflies.

I took the concept and created new digital designs using the same style, added some of my original poems & prose, then created a great line of colorful posters, t-shirts, cups, hats, aprons & other fun gifts.

Below are the four playful & inspirational designs - simply click the design to see the t-shirts, posters and other gift items you can purchase it on (there's still 2 days left for FREE Ground Shipping on Orders of $50 or More! Use code: ZAZZLEGROUND):




All Designs, Images & Poems are Copyright 2009 by PopArtDiva. All Rights Reserved. No permission given to copy, share, distribute, print or reproduce. To license one of these images please contact PopArtDiva.
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20091212

ROLLING STONES "ROCK AND ROLL CIRCUS" from 1968


Today in 1968 The Rolling Stones filmed their famous "Rock and Roll Circus", creation and brainchild of Mick Jagger. Though originally it was set to air on the BBC it never did. It was finally released nearly 30 years later (1996) as a film.

The Rolling Stones stated they did not release it for viewing in 1968 because their own performance was "substandard", they were exhausted from having been on stage since early morning. It has long been contended that the real reason it was not released was because The Who just rocked the show and upstaged The Stones. We'll probably never know but at least it's now been given back to the fans and below are Parts 1 through 7 from YouTube.

This was the last public performance of Brian Jones playing with The Stones. This is also the only footage of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi performing as a member of Jethro Tull. John Lennon performs with Yoko Ono as part of a group called The Dirty Mac. Also performing are Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and Jethro Tull.

PART ONE


PART TWO


PART THREE



PART FOUR - Yoko "sings" you might want to turn off the volume. . .


PART FIVE



PART SIX


PART SEVEN
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20091211

THE POP ART DIVA CHRISTMAS COOKIES


TO DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE CARDS
simply right click and save as (PC) or Ctrl + Click (Mac)
or simply drag the image to your desktop!


These wonderful sugar cookies are my own personal Christmas Tradition. I've been making them for over 20 years and today I'm sharing the recipe and techniques with you.

There's a story behind how these cookies turned into Pop Art Diva cookies. When you cut out traditional Christmas cookie shapes on a rolled cookie you get a lot of left over cookie dough in a weird shape. Most people will take that and re-roll it out BUT each time you re-roll you add flour and the cookies become drier and tough. I'm a real fanatic about perfect cookies, especially when I go to this amount of work to make them and that bugged me.

One day I was looking at the shapes and saw some interesting designs so I just cut them up with a small knife, painted those up like abstracts and baked them that way. People loved those more than the traditional shapes AND it was actually easier than using cookie cutters so from that point on I called them Picasso cookies. When I trademarked my brand name Pop Art Diva I then started to call them Pop Art Diva cookies and my brand cookie was born!

I've tried to be as detailed as possible about my procedures and the painting techniques but a recipe card is a small (5"x3") area so if you have any questions just post them as a comment here and I'll try to help you out with your creative cooking adventure!

Enjoy! And let me know how you like them!

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20091209

13 REALLY FUN & FREE CHRISTMAS THINGS TO DO ONLINE

I just spent half the day playing with these - they're free for the basic goodies, cute and really fun to do for kids of all ages. Nice way to share some Christmas fun with your children or surprise them with a letter from Santa or a free Christmas story about them!

Send your child a FREE letter from Santa - Free personalized Printable Santa Letters

Cute Christmas website where you can Write & Email Santa Claus, download coloring pages & more for free

Create AND PRINT your own Personalized Christmas Storybook for FREE. 3 different stories to choose from.

Find out just where you are on Santa's Nice & Naughty list

Play games at Elf School and Earn Elf Diplomas you can print out - 11 different diplomas to earn.

Cute FREE Dress Up Santa Game - Check out how I duded up the jolly dude below:


Another Dress Up Game for girls - this is like an online paper doll from The Doll Palace

Elf yourself courtesy of Office Max!
This one's been around for a few years and it's still fun. Looks like they've added new graphics and dances this year. Below is one I did using Tink's photo - finally, I got my cat to do something I told him to do:
Send your own ElfYourself eCards



Let your child build a snowman and learn at the same time.

Decorate your own Gingerbread House then print it out - If you add the eyes they'll follow your cursor around as you continue to build your house! Below is a screen print of my quick effort:


Go Disco Dancing with Santa, change it up by using the snowballs!


NORAD SANTA - You can now keep track of Santa's location from anywhere in the world! There's also a tab where you can Track Santa in Google Earth on Christmas Eve Day!

And, of course, check out my special Christmas version of my Recipe Archives - here's ALL MY CHRISTMAS MARTINI RECIPES & APPETIZER RECIPES and BLANK CHRISTMAS THEMED RECIPE CARDS on one page, ready to download as 5X3 recipe cards for your files:

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IS IT THE END OF THE DAY TIME SOAP?

CBS announced yesterday that it was cancelling the long running daytime soap opera "As The World Turns" after a 54 year run. In September of 2010 the town of Oakdale, Illinois will disappear from TV Land forever.

Just this last September "The Guiding Light" ceased to light up the TV screen. GL had been broadcast for 72 years, starting with 15 minute radio shows in 1937. It moved to the small screen in 1952.

I remember my Mom watching "The Guiding Light" when I was a kid. I can still see that Lighthouse on our black and white screen and I can still hear that theme song in my head to this day. Though my mom worked most of my life she still managed to keep up with her soap operas. I don't know how she kept up on the doings in those fictional towns in the days before VCRs, DVRs and the Soap Channel but she did.

Somewhere between my childhood years and my twenties my Mom switched soaps and The Guiding Light got cancelled in our house way before CBS did it in completely. I know Mom watched a few other shows over the years but she was most faithful to The Guilding Light and Days of Our Lives. She was also a big Perry Mason fan but that was a prime time show.

AS THE WORLD TURNS


THE GUIDING LIGHT

I am not a soap opera fan. The only time I ever got hooked was in the early eighties when my Mom would not leave the house until her "story" (Days of Our Lives) aired. Any plans we had to go shopping, have lunch or see a movie waited until she got the latest dope on Marlena and the gang. I ended up watching with her and got caught in the net for a while. Mom loved her "stories" and I ended up with a soap monkey on my back for a few years. Fortunately my business was booming and the pressures of a growing client list broke my addiction.

THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES OPENING THEME

Oh, okay, I did watch "Dark Shadows" when I was in high school because all my friends did and, yup, I couldn't go anywhere with them until their "story" was over!



No matter what your opinion of daytime soaps, the one thing they were good for is providing work for aging actors and giving young actors a break into the business. Here's a list of just a few of the well known actors who appeared on just these two soap operas:

AS THE WORLD TURNS:
Courtney Cox, Dana Delany, Thomas Gibson, James Earl Jones, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Richard Thomas, Marisa Tomei, Steven Weber

THE GUIDING LIGHT:
Kevin Bacon, Joan Collins, Taye Diggs, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, James Earl Jones (again!), Melina Kanakaredes, Harley Jane Kozak, James Lipton, Hayden Panettiere, Jimmy Smits, Mira Sorvino, Billy Dee Williams

With the cancellation of so many of these long running daytime soap operas I begin to wonder if the end is near for this form of entertainment. Daytime soap operas were aimed at the housewife of the 1940s and 1950s. They were called "soaps" because they were sponsored by laundry detergent and hand soap companies. The ads were aimed at stay-at-home moms, the shows timed to air during school hours and the story lines were written like neighborhood gossip.

Lifestyles have changed, most women work outside the home these days, talk shows seem to have overtaken the daytime landscape and soap operas have drifted into primetime in the guise of "drama". The world has turned and the days of our lives have changed the viewing habits of that earlier target audience. Women have moved on and the daytime soap seems to have outlived its value. It's just another part of television that is slowly becoming history.


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20091205

IS THIS THE CUTEST KITTEN IN THE WORLD?

I found this video this morning and had to share it with you - it's a tiny little kitten who's getting it's stomach tickled. Not such a big deal until you watch the kitten's actions each time the tickling stops!

Having just gotten my first cat pet in decades it reminds me of how adorable Tink (@StinkyTinkyCat on Twitter!) was just a few months ago and has seriously lessened my desire to strangle him when he goes all Jedi Psycho Cat on me.

Honestly, if this doesn't make you laugh and feel wonderful you need a heart transplant:


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20091204

FRANK SINATRA - Old Blue Eyes Does Christmas Songs

The theme for this week on Old School Friday is Gone But Not Forgotten and the one person I can think of, especially at this time of year, is Old Blue Eyes, Mr. Frank Sinatra. Maybe it was because my folks would always play 78s on the HiFi of Sinatra's Christmas Songs during the holidays.

BTW, to you younger readers a 78 is the original size that records came out on! Later Albums were called 33s and single song discs 45s. Do you know why they used those numbers? Because that was the RPM or revolutions per minute the disc would spin on the turntable!

What will be playing on your turntable, CD player, iPod, Blue Ray or Blackberry this year?


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


The Christmas Waltz


The Christmas Song - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire


White Christmas (from 1944)


I'll Be Home For Christmas



It's Christmas Central in
PopArtDiva Land this month!

Check it out for a convenient location to shop all of my online stores for your holiday shopping!

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20091203

THE BEST PART OF CHRISTMAS PAST


What I Loved Most About Christmas Past

Christmas is a holiday for children. The season is wrapped in dreams of jolly fat men who magically slide down chimneys, flying reindeer with flashing red noses, singing snowmen and believing. Belief is the sparkle of Christmas but family is the foundation. What I loved the very most about Christmas is doing these 13 things with my family.
  1. The smell of a real Christmas Tree - for our family that smell of pine in the house was the harbinger of the Christmas season. Ours was always placed in front of the living room window, blinds left open at night so it could be viewed from the street. One year my Mom went "modern" and put up an aluminum tree, it was almost like the Grinch had stolen our Christmas. The next year that aluminum tree was relegated to the family room and our beloved Traditional Tree returned in all it's glory.
  2. Getting out the tree ornaments and seeing favorites again. I managed to save a few of my favorites from those days - some are actually older than I am, real hand blown glass.
  3. The Christmas "Bling" - All the lights and sparkle of Christmas decorations. I'm a sucker for bling and sparkle and Christmas has that in abundance.
  4. Seeing the Christmas presents pile up under the tree. I really was a greedy little bugger, lol.
  5. Trying to figure out what was in those presents. Butthead (that's my older brother in case you're new to this blog) was notorious for shaking and rattling packages but I did my share too. Patty, my older sister, was a teenager who disdained this practice which she called "childish".
  6. Buying presents. I saved up my money all year to buy my family presents. I think I enjoyed watching them open these more than I enjoyed opening my own pile of loot.
  7. Wrapping presents. I loved this creative part of Christmas. I would color my own paper, make little decorations, make my own gift cards and spend days cutting, wrapping, gluing and glittering the few presents I had bought to give to family and friends.
  8. NOT seeing Christmas sales before the day after Christmas. Somehow today's big sales and retail panic takes the joy out of holiday shopping.
  9. Watching Christmas spring up all over the neighborhood and town. The day after Thanksgiving the city lights and banners would go up, the stores started getting their windows painted with snowmen and Santas, and the town turned red and green overnight.
  10. Christmas Carols - My favorite? White Christmas.
  11. The Santa Claus TV show that was on every afternoon from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. I wish I could remember the actual name - I think it was North Pole something - but I ran home from school every day to watch the show.
  12. Seeing all the Christmas Lights on peoples houses - in those days everyone decorated their house with at least one string of lights. The energy crunch of the 70s almost killed that custom but lately I see it coming back and it's nice.
  13. When it actually snowed on Christmas Day - there is something magical about waking up and seeing snowflakes falling on Christmas morning.

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20091128

BLACK FRIDAY, CYBER MONDAY & THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PAST

BAH HUMBUG TO BLACK FRIDAY

I truly hate malls and at Christmas I will not step foot in one for any reason whatsoever, and you will NEVER catch me getting up at 4 a.m. to stand in line outside some store's doors.


I do ALL of my holiday shopping online these days - most of it at my own Gift Stores (links below!) . Let's face it, why should I waste gas driving to a mall, deal with finding a parking place, shove through crowds of rude and/or slightly insane bargain hunters to grab some so-called "deal" of a piece of imported, mass produced crap? Then after I shell out my hard earned cash for that crap I still have to box it up and schlep it to the Post Office, wasting even more gas, and stand in a line to mail it out!

Holiday Shopping in this day and age has become an unpleasant, stress filled miserable experience, not at all like the Christmas shopping I remember from my youth. Once upon a time the shopping experience was almost as much fun as the exchange of the actual gifts! My family looked forward to the Holiday shopping almost as much as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was a family outing, much like getting the Christmas tree. Our whole Thanksgiving weekend was like what they call a "staycation" these days.

Thursday, of course, was the big food day where we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on television as the wondrous smells of turkey, baking pies and home made rolls wafted through the house. We ate our dinner early in the afternoons so poor Mom was always up before dawn in the kitchen cooking away most of the day. She would come out to enjoy a bit of the parade during moments of cooking hiatus. Later the sounds of football games filled the air as we helped Mom clean up. The rest of Thanksgiving Day was pretty much spent in a Turkey coma - pumpkin and minced pies were served during the Holiday specials on TV. Charlie Brown and Burl Ives will always make me think of pumpkin pie.

Friday was NOT our shopping day, it was the day we went out as a family, bought our tree then came home to decorate it. (There were no deals on that Friday. In those days the stores weren't living in fear of bankruptcy, there were no sales until after Christmas and the Friday after Thanksgiving was the start of retail profitability!) I think this was my Mom's favorite day of the weekend, she truly loved our Christmas Trees. She insisted on the same kind of tree each year, a Douglas Fir. She wanted that smell that only a real live tree brought to the holiday season. We would play Christmas music during the trimming of the tree and every year Mom would yell at Butthead and me for throwing big clumps of the aluminum tinsel at the tree! Mom wanted that tinsel draped strand by strand, lol. We had turkey sandwiches, home made cookies and enjoyed the experience of unpacking the traditional ornaments we hadn't seen in a year. Then when it got dark we all piled in the car and drove around looking at the Christmas lights on all the houses in town.

SATURDAY was the big shopping day in our family. The whole family would get dressed up and off we would drive Uptown to the Shopping District. All the department stores had wonderful window displays with animated Santas, Elves, Model trains running in and around Christmas trees, tons of beautifully wrapped boxes or maybe a Nativity scene or a tableau of a family opening presents. Does anyone else remember those wonderful window displays? This was my favorite part of the holiday and I looked forward to those every year.

Mom and Dad did another little shopping trip later in the week to procure the toys and gifts we had excitedly pointed out or asked Santa for, but this Saturday was our traditional "shopping day" complete with lunch out at a fancy restaurant!
We split off in groups in order to buy presents for each other in appropriate secrecy then meet back up for a cup of cocoa or some treat. This was also the day we got to sit on Santa's lap and whisper in his ear what we wanted for Christmas. It was a happy day of family, laughter and love.

Yes, Virginia, once upon a time Christmas Shopping was a Wonderland filled with sugar plum fairies and ho-ho-hos and not a Black Friday of Scroogism and corporate avarice. It was a time of giving to friends and family, sharing and magic that somehow got lost in the stampede of greed. In today's world Santa's naughty list is larger than his nice, Rudolph is now a celebrity spokesman for brand of sports clothing, the Elves are doing movies in Hollywood and the North Pole is in foreclosure.

So maybe you'll all forgive me if the idea of getting up before the crack of dawn, dealing with mall parking, getting pushed, shoved and maybe even trampled to death by the hoard crazed humanity for the sake of 80% off an item that was marked up 200% just doesn't quite seem like Christmas to me. I have opted out of the insanity. I would rather sit home, stay warm and cozy, click my mouse a few times and be done with it because Christmas shopping has become a chore and not a joy anymore. Ho Ho Ho even has a new meaning now.

Where did the term BLACK FRIDAY come from?

In shopping lingo the term Black Friday is the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red to being in the black financially. It originated somewhere in the early 1960s, during a time when stores kept normal business hours. Some say the name Black Friday was coined by the Philly Police Department in 1966 as a negative term for the traffic jams and mobs of people crowding the sidewalks.

Black Friday (aka the Fisk/Gould scandal) was also the name given to September 24, 1869 when two gold speculators tried to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange and caused a financial panic in the United States.


SAVE YOURSELF THE HASSLE OF MALL MADNESS & WASTED GAS!
SHOP THE POP!
Reasonable Business Branding - Logos, Business Cards, Web Graphics: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS Holiday Shopping Made Easy - Happy Holly Daze for Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine's Day and all Special OccasionsShop for Martini Art & Gifts at The Martini Diva Boutique Carousel Corner ShoppingRANTORIUM EMPORIUM Shopping, Tees, Gifts for Snarky, Bitchy, Grumpy People Cocktail Napkin Wit, Wisdom & Happy Hour Humor ShoppingShop for Cool Tees & Gear for Normal Challanged Artists! TweetleBirdie - Shopping for Facebook, Twitter Tees, Gifts

SHOP HERE FOR MY ORIGINAL PAINTINGS
& HAND PAINTED MARTINI GLASSES!



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20091125

What to do with leftover Turkey


Thirteen Things to do With Leftover Turkey
  1. Have Turkey dinner again. . . and again and again and again. . .
  2. Feed it to the pets - chop it up, add some rice and make the cat and dog happy.
  3. Make a Sherry Turkey Pot Pie.
  4. Give everyone a doggy bag full of it.
  5. Grind it up, add some flour and water and sculpt a whole new turkey from it.
  6. Have a turkey food fight.
  7. Wrap it in foil and freeze it. You'll forget about it for six months but by then you can throw it away and blame it on freezer burn.
  8. Put it out for the wild animals.
  9. Make Turkey Soup
  10. Make Turkey Sandwiches
  11. Make Turkey Casseroles
  12. Make yourself a lot of martinis because you're gonna be sick of Turkey anything
  13. Just throw it away - you know you want to.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING - Enjoy your Turkey!!!

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20091118

Why I Started Painting Again - Digital Art vs. "Real World" Art


13 reasons why I started to paint the old fashioned way again:

Fifty years ago I knew I wanted to be an artist and my parents knew it too. If I didn't get my box of 64 Crayola Crayons for Christmas they were greeted with a crestfallen little artist in the making. No matter what else they might have given me or whatever Santa might have dragged down the chimney to stuff into my stocking if I didn't get my crayons it just wasn't Christmas!

I've spent all of my life with some form of art utensil in my hand, from crayons to pencils to brushes, and I have lived my life creating things with my imagination and my hands. In 1996 I got my first graphics software and became enamored of what could be done on a computer IF (and that's a big IF) you were an artist.

After I had to retire from the art shows because of back and hip problems I stopped painting "real world" art and concentrated on digital art. I love creating on the computer - don't get me wrong - I still love it and it's now my main creative outlet but I found myself missing the feel of a brush loaded with paint. The vibration of a pencil across paper and the sheer sensuality of mixing colors and pushing those lush hues across some form of canvas are a very elemental form of creativity - getting your hands covered in a rainbow of dabs and smears of paint somehow keeps you connected to the great Muse in a way that a Wacom tablet can't. So, I picked up my sable brushes and my number two pencils and got my hands dirty again after a long hiatus.

Here are my 13 reasons for painting without pixels again:
  1. There's nothing as gratifying as getting your hands dirty - especially with any kind of artist's paint or material.
  2. There is an almost cosmic connection to something out there that rules the lives of artists and this connection is strongest when you are closest to the actual materials that come from the Earth - graphite, oil, paper.
  3. I wanted to keep my skills before they faded away - that can happen if you don't stay tuned in and stay working.
  4. I love how I get physically connected to a real piece of art, how I transcend the physical world and become part of the art work. That is harder to do with a monitor and keyboard.
  5. I wanted a physical original - not something that existed only as dots of computer code.
  6. I love the experience of sitting in a studio with only the art and some music in the background.
  7. There's nothing like the ache you get from getting so involved with what you're doing you forget time and work too long - and you sleep like a damn baby those days.
  8. I love the smell of art materials - the smell of the wood in your pencil as you sharpen it, the smell of linseed oil.
  9. There's nothing as exciting as a big ass empty canvas or sheet of watercolor paper.
  10. There's a certain danger to doing art that doesn't have an "undo" feature. There's often no going back in "real world" art - especially watercolors.
  11. There's also a certain enjoyment of the emotionalism that comes from making a mistake you cannot correct with a keystroke - sometimes it's fun to rant and throw jars of paint!
  12. It's fun to mix paint and see the colors as they change and evolve.
  13. I now have Christmas presents that are one-of-a-kind originals.
I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - Georgia O-Keefe


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20091111

I LOVE my New Hand Painted Martini Glasses!


are now available for purchase - just in time for Christmas!

I am really happy with every one of my new Hand Painted, Original MARTINI GLASSES - I'm so excited about them I'm posting them on every one of my blogs, lol.

Check out what else you can do with them besides drink martinis in them:

To read all about them and get more information on how you can order a set check out my new blog dedicated just to my original paintings and creations - The Original Art of Pop Art Diva.

or you can go right to my New Etsy store where I sell the glasses as well as my one-of-a-kind pop art paintings:

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL THE SETS of my
HAND PAINTED MARTINI GLASSES

and get ready to give yourself or a friend the gift of One-of-a-kind Happy Hours for years to come!

20091104

STUCK IN THE SIXTIES - Old Hippies Don't Pass Away, They Tye Die


Harold peaked as a political protester in college. He never quite understood the Sixties had come and gone. You know him, you've seen Harold or someone like him while you were out and about. If you notice him at all your first thought is probably, "wow, still stoned after all these years" or "OMG! Look at that hippie - I thought they were all dead!"

Harold is one of those poor, time challenged people who pine for "the good old days". He still smells like stale Maui Wowie smoke and patchouli, his closet consists mainly of tie dye from five decades of street vendor shopping, his home decor is reminiscent of Haight -Ashbury head shops and, yes, he still drives a VW and it's not one of the new, cute ones.

If people feel anything for Harold and his kind, it's probably pity. Maybe a bit of disdain is mixed in with the pity, maybe not, and they certainly don't envy him. But I wonder if maybe Harold might have the right idea. Is it possible he's found a way to be happy in an increasingly chaotic and unexpected life?

To Harold the world is still a place of peace, love and trail mix, not a landscape of tumbling economies, increasing stress and fear of the future. Harold ignored the future and stayed in a time and place where he felt safe, comfortable and at home. Harold's maybe not so pitiful after all.

I wonder what I did with my tie dye tees and hemp sandals?

PEACE & HANG IN THERE, BABY.

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20091029

1975 Was a Very Sunshine Year - Doris Day, John Denver and a Sunshine Medley

This week's Old School Friday is Songs that Make Me Smile. I came across this clip from The Doris Day Show from 1975 - it's a duet between Doris Day and John Denver.

I know a lot of people never cared for John Denver but there was something about his music that I always loved - I miss him and his music. Pairing John Denver with Doris Day is almost a "Sunshine" overload but this medley of Sunshine songs does bring a smile to your lips - if only at the end when you watch those two skinny little tooshies dance away from the camera in a happy little jig.

The set and clothing are predictably yellow, full of flowers and very Doris Day-Girl Next Door. You can almost count the freckles on Day's face (if it wasn't for the famous Doris Day lens blur you probably could!) Denver is a mop headed Muppet of a hippie with his round glasses and blond Beatles hair. The pair are almost a "happy overload" but it's still amazing to see both these singers again almost 35 years later and remember when . . .

Yes, 1975 was a good year - the Baby Boom Generation was still young, our lives were ahead of us and we basked in the warmth of youth. Those were the days when there was no guilt heaped on us for laying out in a bathing suit, lathered in coconut oil and soaking up the rays while we listened to the latest John Denver tune or Beach Boys hit. Those were the days before the worries of the world came to rest on us, the days of Sunshine on our Shoulders.



Check out The POP ART DIVAS - Original Miniature Paintings by PopArtDiva
Prices for originals starting at $20!

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20091028

THIRTEEN FUN HALLOWEEN RESOURCES TO SPOOK UP THIS SATURDAY

It's no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday of them all. I look forward to Halloween even more than Christmas, probably because on Halloween you get to get out of your own life for a few hours every October 31st. It's a chance to become anything you want to be.

Most of you know that I house several different online personalities inside the Pop Art Diva - including The Martini Diva (where I've been posting Halloween Martini Recipes all month), The Diva of Tiny Foods (where I've been posting Halloween Appetizer Recipes all month) and The Normal Challenged Artist (my multiple creativity alter ego). Halloween gives me an excuse to create a few more - just what I need right? Muhahahaha!

For those of my fellow Halloween Freaks out there I've compiled a list of great Halloween websites and resources to Trick up your Terrifying Thursday, Frighten up your Freaky Friday and Spook up your Scary Saturday this week:
  1. http://www.halloween.com/ (a good general Halloween resource)
  2. http://www.pumpkincarving101.com/ (tips for pumpkin carving)
  3. http://www.365halloween.com/spooky/halloween-websites (a few more websites to check out)
  4. http://www.hauntinggrounds.org/ (Guide to and info on haunted places)
  5. http://www.halloween-web.com/halloween.htm (some fun Halloween stuff)
  6. http://www.halloweenghoststories.com/ (ghost stories!)
  7. http://www.halloweentips.com/ (Halloween tips)
  8. http://www.halloweenfonts.com/ (Halloween fonts)
  9. http://www.theholidayspot.com/halloween/music.htm (Halloween Sounds)
  10. http://www.komar.org/halloween/music-sounds/ (Halloween Music)
  11. http://www.all-about-halloween.com/free-halloween-music.html (Halloween TV & Movie Themes)
  12. http://www.kidsmusic.co.uk/acatalog/Free_Halloween_Songs.html (Free Kids Halloween Music)
  13. http://www.spookmaster.com/pumpkin-carving-patterns-freebies.htm (Free Jack O'Lantern Patterns)
And of course you don't want to miss my Halloween Martinis that I've posted all this month at The Martini Diva and my Halloween Recipes at The Diva of Tiny Foods!

From my younger self of a Halloween in the very distant past:


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20091023

Goodbye White Fang, Black Tooth & Soupy Sales


SOUPY SALES
January 8, 1926 - October 22,2009


Milton Supman (professional name Milton Hines) - more famously known as Soupy Sales - has passed away at the age of 83.

Soupy Sales was a regular visitor to my house when I was a kid. My siblings and I watched his show all the time and I remember first hand some of the stunts he pulled that later became legend (and a bit infamous.) I loved White Fang, which was basically just a big white furry paw - you never saw the rest of White Fang - who threw pies at Soupy. Black Tooth was the same only black and female and she gave Soupy big wet kisses.

His most famous stunt was the time he told the kids in his audience to sneak into their parents bedroom, rummage through their wallets or pants, take out a dollar (which he described as, "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents") and mail it to him. He then told the kids that they would get a postcard from him from Puerto Rico for it. The dollars started rolling in, Soupy tried to explain to the angry parents complaining that it was a joke and the money would be donated to charity, but he was suspended from the show for two weeks. When kids started picketing Channel 5-WNEW it just served to increase Soupy's popularity.

Of course, we've all heard about the "topless dancer behind the door" stunt his crew pulled on him. Remember he would open a door on the set to reveal a celebrity guest or just an arm he would joke with? Well, to Soupy's surprise, his crew once positioned a topless dancer behind the door during the live broadcast (out of range of the show camera but covered with a few strategic balloons).

I didn't find out he had a Twitter account until I read the news of his death - I certainly would have followed him. One of his last tweets was, "Did you kids catch me at the Oscar ceremony last Sunday? Neither did security! KAPOW!" Typical Soupy humor.

Goodbye Soupy, thanks for all the laughs.

Lunch with Soupy, 1959: THE TOPLESS DANCER INCIDENT:

Soupy, White Fang & Pookie:



Soupy talks about those "green pieces of paper":


Read more about Soupy Sales at Wikipedia

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