Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stamp of Approval

It's that time of year again folks... Retail stores are bustling, snow is foreboding, and that general holiday sparkle lights up the faces of little boys and girls around the world. Okay I realize it's still November. But with Christmas only 25 days away, it's time to start thinking about that always ever joyful obligation to send out annual holiday greetings.

It's not unknown that I am a lover of all things vintage. Any opportunity to hearken back to the days of yore is approached with the utmost enthusiasm. And Christmas is obviously no exception. That means getting out the old Bing Crosby LP's (or MP3's... whatever.), baking up batches of Grandma's old homestead ginger molasses cookies (recipe as old as 1890!), and of course, hand making beautiful holiday greeting cards. I can't tell you how much I delight in doing this. It's therapeutic in a way - watching Christmas movies (in particular Babes in Toyland) and sitting in front of the coffee table laboring over hand calligraphed envelopes. Ahh... The good life. No detail should be overlooked. This year, it means taking the extra special step of adding a touch of the vintage to even the postage. Thanks to a little suggestion from my lady Martha, purchasing vintage postage stamps can be done at the click of a mouse from the American Philatelic Society webpage.

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but what I found was a marvelous world where fabulous designs are encapsulated in the tiny vignettes of a mere inch by inch and a half piece of paper. It's truly fascinating how good design lends itself to such practical applications as a postage stamp. Without question, some of the earlier designs from the 1950's and 1960's are chock full of brilliant flat colored designs which put many of today's holiday stamps available at any local post office to utter shame. At any rate, I haven't exactly decided which combination of stamps I will be using for my holiday cards (yes combination as mid-century letters only cost around 8 or 10 cents to mail). But they were so lovely that I just had to share them with you here. Perhaps I should let you, my readers vote on your favorites. Personally I like the mailbox motif and hobby horse stamps best. Enjoy some unusual holiday eye candy!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Complaints Duly Noted.

A few weeks ago Miscellainey got its first real complaint. A milestone in Miscellainey's blogging history. (And no, I wasn't so shattered that I decided to abandon this blog permanently contrary to popular belief.) I'm always a bit taken aback by negative criticism, in every aspect of my life. It's not generally because I'm so sensitive that any offending response gets taken personally, but more so because I genuinely try to be as objective and careful in my writing as possible and nothing I say (especially in this blog) is meant to arouse controversy.

That said, I feel obliged to finally make a response to the comments "Mr. (shall we call him... Smith?)" made a couple of weeks ago. In response to my earlier blog entry "A Half-Baked Idea", which discusses the Symposium on Popular Song's clip "The Boogie Woogie Bakery Man", "Mr. Smith" had the following to say,

Are you really so offended by the depiction of an Asian baker making fortune cookies? Do you really think the talented people who created this cartoon were 'ignorant' and less enlightened than people today? ...You are obviously a sophisticated and intelligent writer--there's no need to hop on the anti-intellectual political correctness bandwagon by cowtowing to hypersensitive folks who seek to needlessly demonize good works and the people who created them.

Now in truth, having re-read what I wrote, I can see how my comments may have been a bit overly cautious and maybe even a bit harsh. But goodness knows I would be the first person to stand up and say that these cartoons should be considered "good works" and that the people who created them were not only smart but incredibly talented. I definitely did not mean to imply as a blanket statement that the animators of days past were less-enlightened than people of today. In fact, and I believe I've said before, today's animators would do well to take extensive notes and pay close attention to their elders of animation-days-past. Frankly a lot of what goes on TV and in the movies animation wise these days is just plain crap. And I'd rather see "Boogie Woogie Bakery Man" 100 times in a row than watch a single episode of "A Pup Named Scooby Doo". (Surely that comment alone will offend someone else...)

That said, even Leonard Maltin and Richard Sherman issued a disclaimer in their commentary about the film for its depictions and how it would be viewed in today's context. Now, maybe I'm an optimist, but I like to think we've come a long way in our treatment of all races and ethnicities over the last 50 years. And hopefully in the next 50 years the next generation can say they've come a long way from where we are now. Personally, I'm not offended by that thought. And I think it's unfair to characterize my sentiment that blanket stereotypes of days past might need to be prefaced with disclaimers as "cowtowing".

At any rate, I appreciate "Mr. Smith's" willingness to bring forth criticism, as a good dash of objectivity is healthy for all of us, and I also appreciate his recognition that I am, or at least aspire to be, an "intelligent writer". That said, my last intention with this blog is to ever offend anyone. And if I have, I do want to be notified. I may not always agree, but so is life. You can't please all of the people, all of the time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Friends, I know it's been over two weeks since I've posted and I just wanted to extend my apologies that it's taken me so long to get back here and get some new material up. My life has been overwhelmingly busy and I've had very little free time to devote to a thorough blog entry as I would like. This is the longest I've ever gone without posting but I assure you that I'll get new material up very soon. I'm not going anywhere. Don't worry.