Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Was A Card Carrying Member of "U.N.C.L.E."

I have a small collection of vintage television star photographs. My cousin Debbie told me how to write to studios for autographed photos when we were in junior high.

My favorite television show in 7th grade was The Man From U.N.C.L.E. When other kids were going to the Boy-Girl Dance on Friday evening I was at home riveted to the television. The show was big, big, big among us kids. Most of the girls swooned over David McCallum but I preferred Robert Vaughn. McCallum was too cool.(These days I enjoy McCallum as Duckie, Dr. Mallard on N.C.I.S.-he can't get away from shows made up of initials!)

I got an envelope with two color photos and 'membership' card and rules.
No, the signatures are printed on the photo cards. The enclosed membership card reads,
United Network Command for Law Enforcement
This is to certify that _____has qualified for service with U.N.C.L.E. and may be called to active duty with his section on 12 hours notice. (Y3K7-Hazardous Duty)
Norman Felton, Section 1, Number a. Policy and Operations
Boris Ingster Section 2, Number 1 Operations and Enforcement
Note that the member is referred to as "he." Norman Felton was the producer of UNCLE as well as Dr. Kildare, starring Richard Chamberlain, which I watched with Mom.

Also included was a form to join the "Inner Circle."
**U.N.C.L.E. Inner Circle**
Classified Material +++Destroy if Nervous
Attention U.N.C.L.E. Enthusiasts!!! Otherwise known as fans of Robert Vaughn, David McCalum and Leo G. Carroll!!! Otherwise known as Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakim and Mr. Waverly!
Congratulations--You are now eligible to become a member of the U.N.C.L.E. Inner Circle!!! And received the following U.N.CL.E. goodies-- an autographed 8x10 color photo of secret agents Solo, Kuryakin and Waverly; an I.D. card in full color, proving your loyalty to U.N.C.L.E.; and a giant journal containing the inside story behind "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."
Plus...Photos and secret specifications of the fabulous U.N.C.L.E. gun, together with classified bulletins about upcoming shows throughout the year!!! And...you may be asked to help promote "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." in your neighborhood!!! How about that???
It's easy to join, too. Simpy mail your membership dues of $2.00 per year to Central headquarters and Squadron Leader Mark Whitsett, Re., Mild-mannered machine-gunner recently appointed to head this super-secret arm of U.N.C.LE. Inner Circle!!! You'll be sensational!!! (Last one to join is a T.H.R.U.S.H.!!!) Please allow sufficient time for delivery of your first goodies!!! 
Squadron Leader Mark Whitsett, Ret.
U.N.C.L.E. Inner Circle
Central Headquarters Box 704
Beverly Hills, California 90211
Foreign members may send 20 coupon response international available at your local post office. (Mexico and Canada use money orders)
Don't you love all those !!!!  I did not send in my $2.00. I doubt I could have scrapped up $2.00 in 1964. My allowance in high school was $2.00 a week; in junior high I likely didn't even get an allowance! According to The U.N.C.L.E. Timeline the Inner Circle was created in 1965.

Bewitched premiered in 1963 and I was a big fan. The show was funny and Samantha was amazing and beautiful and smart. Darrin was pretty lucky she gave him the time of day; he was snarky and old-fashioned and a wet blanket.This photo of Montgomery must have been for the men.

This pic is actually hand signed, "To Nancy, with my sincere best wishes, Tony Franciosa"! I remember he was on a TV show, but for the life of me I can't figure out what it was.

In 1963 Inger Stevens starred in The Farmer's Daughter . I kind of remember the show.

Who is Van Williams? And why did I send for his photograph? What was he in around 1963? I don't even KNOW. I see on IMBD he played a character named Ken Madison on Surfside 6 and also on Seventy Seven Sunset Strip (which I know I watched, I still remember the theme song). Otherwise I am a big blank. But hey, he's pretty cute.

My writing for television star photos was short lived. In Ninth Grade I decided to give up television! I had too much to do: play the piano, read books, day dream, write in my journal. Once in a while I did homework. I did watch one show: Star Trek. Yes--I was an original Trekkie from the beginning.

Live Long and Prosper
R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Monday, March 2, 2015

Children's Handkerchiefs

Children's handkerchiefs are whimsical, sweet, educational, or representative of child life. I have a small collection.

This new hanky was bought at an Amish store

A hanky about 100 years old with a tale of pirates on the seas

Tom Lamb was a popular artist

another Tom Lamb

The whole tale of Puss in Boots on one hanky!

A 19th c handkerchief teaching about birds

A German folk character on 100 year old hanky

Tom Lamb

1880s hanky

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How Many Lives Does It Take To Appreciate What You Have?

Repeat by Neal Pollack employs the stock plot devise of a man who gets to relive his life (think Ground Hog Day) until he gets it 'right.'

Brad Cohen is feeling pretty down on the eve of his 40th birthday. Life did not turn out the way he expected. He was a bright kid, went to the right schools, got the job of his dreams...then tanked. An agent contacts him; she thinks that his one book is Hollywood material. He uproots his 'witch' herbalist wife and their two girls for the Coast, only to end up writing scripts for a lame cartoon show. After ten years he is still hawking TV show scripts to unreceptive ears and living in a hellhole of an apartment while his wife supports them with her concoctions.

Cohen's wife brews up something special for him. He wakes up in-utero, with the mind of a 40 year old man, unprepared to relive his life from the beginning.

Cohen endeavors to make better choices this life round, and for the next hundred or so lives, for he has been stuck in a perpetual time loop that runs from 1970 to 2010. Yoga is the only thing that brings him peace during his last lives.

The ending recalled to mind A Christmas Carol: he wakes with an attitude adjustment, and it was accomplished in one night!

Satirist Pollack is often funny. Sometimes the joke goes on too long---such as Brad's 40 year old interest in sex being stymied in a prepubescent body. I am not sure if this treatment of the repeated life has much new to say, but I did enjoy it and it was a light, quick read. It left me with a positive attitude, an affirmation of life. And that is priceless in these complicated and bewildering days.

I received the ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

by Neal Pollack
Lake Union Publishing
ISBN: 9781477821336
Publication March 24, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Behind Every Great Man Is...A Woman With A Blooming Idiot of a Husband?

Behind Every Great Man: Forgotten Women Behind the World's Famous and Infamous by Marlene Wagman-Geller was touted as about the women who helped 'propel' their husbands 'to the top'.

I was all for reading about gals like, say, Dolley Madison and Abigail Adams, but who had been forgotten by the historians. (Likely because they were too busy writing about the men.) 28 women nearly forgotten! Including Alma Hitchcock and Emma Wedgewood Darwin!

Wagman-Geller is very entertaining. You laugh out loud, you grind your teeth. But I felt really bad about laughing at these women, many of whom suffered great indignities and suffering because of the love for 'their man,' some of whom are candidates for the Worst Husband of the Millennium Award.

Each woman's biographical sketch consists of a few pages; Mrs Stephen Hawking has 10 pages plus photos. One could find out most of this information Goggling around online. (Of course, you would not have Wagman-Geller's lively narrative.) If you want brief biographies with attitude, this is the book for you.

The author is not above using the women's peccadilloes for laughs, or to arouse one's distaste. Some of these gals were outrageous and some plain evil. Those who were badly used by their husbands deserved a more respectful treatment.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley for a fair and unbiased review.

Behind Every Great Man
Marlene Wagman-Geller
ISBN: 9781492603054
Publication Date: March 1, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Great Lakes Heritage Quilters 2015 Show

Today my friend and I went to see the Great lakes Heritage Quilters quilt show held at King's Court Castle, Canterbury Village near Auburn, MI. It was an impressive show and a great venue. The show runs Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28 from 10 am to 5 pm.
Great hall of King's Court Castle
The quilts were very diverse, with Modern and traditional quilts.
Wonky Logs by Kathleen Joseph

Ghosts by Ruth Montalvo
Modern Mystery by Sue Chase
Bingo by Carol Fulton
Fireworks by Letty Abraham
Peony Star by Sue Chase
detail Peony Star
detail H is for Henry by Carol Fulton

detail Juxtaposition by Jackie Compton; vintage blocks
Cacao Plant and Mint by Ruth McCormick
detail Cacao  Plant and Mint
Tim's Gas Station by Nancy Osterman


Janeen's Quilt by Joyce Harlan

 detail The Event Quilt by Rebecca Magnus

The Event Quilt has a vintage signature block in center
Little Woman III by Rebecca Magnus
 I made one Little Woman quilt. This lady made three--for her granddaughters. Lucky girls!
Beth at Piano, Little Woman III
The lighting was iffy and some of my photos didn't come out well. There were 176 quilts, and these represent only a few.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Post-Apocalypse in Northern Michigan: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I was snooping around NPR's "Stateside" website and came across a story about Station Eleven, the Great Michigan Read choice for 2015-2016. The book was up for the 2014 National Book Award and was on the 2014 Top 10 lists for Time magazine, the Washington Post, and Amazon. I went online and found it for $5.99 on iTunes Books and read it in two sittings.

The book is set in Northern Michigan twenty years fifteen years after a flu pandemic ends civilization. The flu hit hard, bringing death within hours. Mass extinction ended all communication, the power grid, order.

People left large cities where resources were scarce and violence prevailed. The struggle to survive those first years included hard choices. Tattoos of knives designate kills.

Those who remembered 'life before' tell stories of everyday miracles: switches that brought light or heat or cool air, devices that allowed one to talk to people anywhere in the world, a screen that gave 'immortality' to actors. Children are made upset, or marvel, at such tales and adults debate the wisdom of memory keeping.

The night before of the 'end of the world', famous film actor Arthur died on stage whiles playing King Lear in Toronto. He had skyrocketed to fame, gone through three wives, and was weary.
"He'd spent his entire life chasing after something, money or fame or immortality or all of the above."
Eight year old child actor Kirsten Raymonde liked to hang around Arthur. He gave her unpublished comic books created by an ex-wife. After Arthur's death Kirsten's handler gives her a paperweight meant for Arthur, returned from the same ex-wife. These become the girl's totems, and Arthur her obsession.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is part of The Traveling Symphony, wandering minstrels--musicians and theater actors-- who perform King Lear and orchestral pieces in small communities along the northern Lake Huron and Lake Michigan coasts. When the flu hit they had been performing in Toronto, Ontario.Their motto, taken from an episode of Star Trek:Voyager, is "Survival is insufficient."

As the troop wanders Kirsten searches for old magazines articles about Arthur, and even finds an unauthorized biography. She later comes across his only son, unaware of his identity, in a tragic moment of unfulfilled possibilities.
Raymonde: What I mean to say is, the more you remember the more you've lost.
Diallo: But you remember some things...
Raymonde: But so little. My memories from before the collapse seem like dreams now."
When the flu closed the airports a plane headed for Toronto was diverted to Severn Airport along Lake Michigan. It becomes a small city of survivors and the home of The Museum of Civilization, a rumored and legendary place run by Arthur's friend Clark. When troop members disappear the Symphony heads for the agreed upon meeting place, going further south than they have ever ventured, to Severn Airport and the Museum.

Mentioned are Traverse City, Mackinaw City, "New" Petoskey, East Jordan, and the National Forest (likely Huron-Manistee), places we Michiganders know well. Several characters started out in Toronto and followed the lakes and rivers into Michigan. In 2010 the author was on a book tour in Petoskey and Traverse City and decided it was the perfect backdrop for this novel.

The book is beautifully written. I am intrigued by all the layers and will read it again, knowing I missed so much with one read.