The Smooth Sound of Ceiling Tiles

Yesterday we went to our first rummage sales of the season, then hit the thrift shops to spend the last of what cash we still had in our pockets. At the Moorhead Thrift Shop I ran across a few choice albums, including this one:


Looks like we’ve encountered a glitch in the Matrix:  this  young lady is holding the album…that she’s on the cover of, holding the album cover that she’s on.   It goes on FOREVER!


There’s apparently a tradition of albums with themselves on the cover, although I don’t believe the recursion has anything to do with the music on the record.

This album also caught my eye because of the weird framing in the image: the woman’s head is really low for a ‘portrait’ — there’s an awful lot of ceiling in the picture.   That’s intentional: the album is a promo for Gold Bond Ceiling Tile,  as a way of selling acoustic tiles to audiophiles that live in echoy homes.   I couldn’t find anything else about this product in particular, presumably because National Gypsum, the maker of Gold Bond tiles, was more interested in selling albums — heck, their advertisements focus more on this album than their product .

Dog Laundry

dog-laundry-true-story-1939Ah, the cutthroat world of dog launderers.   From what I can tell, this “Billy and Betty Adventure” from the April 1940 issue of  True Story magazine   involved a pint-sized mob extortion, probably laundering dogs used during cocaine transactions.  You know, you sell a bunch of coke, get a truckload of dogs, but you can’t just spend those dogs, otherwise people will be able to track the dope back to you.  So, you blackmail Billy and Betty into laundering your dogs, which clears the trail and keeps the DEA off your back.  Sounds legit?  Yeah, I should’ve just read the story.


Stairway To Stardom

Starting in the late Seventies, public access cable television in New York experienced Stairway to Stardom,  a reality-TV program at its finest.  People wishing to make a stab at television stardom could write in, schedule themselves to appear, pay an appearance fee, and then show up in living rooms all across Staten Island.

It’s as if American Idol auditions left out all the super-talented people and the mentally ill hopefuls, and only accepted people with moderate talent and extreme enthusiasm.   (Via.)

Facehugger Skimask


Ah, it’s the time of year when the knitters in your life move from socks and blankets to scarves and headgear.   If they’re particularly creative, they’ve got something custom in the works, like this alien facehugger skimask.

knit-alien-facehugger-skimaskYou can only wear it for a few hours, because after that time you need to switch over to these guys:

alien_plushKnitters are an amazing folk: they can make almost anything you can imagine out of interlocking loops of string.   The crew of the Nostromo would have survived if only one of them could have knit an alien containment unit before things got ugly.

(Facehugger via, others via)



The Seeburg 1000

Seeburg was a jukebox maker who hit upon a novel idea:  let’s build a jukebox that plays special albums, 45min on a side, and make it peppy, instrumental music to play in stores and offices.  The Seeburg 1000 was born!   You can listen to this proto-Muzak now, as a constant online stream, plenty of music to make you feel like cleaning your whole house RIGHT NOW.



The Roof Is On Fire, Oh, And The IRS

We’ve been listing old Model Railroader magazines lately, and I loved my little model railroad when I was a kid.  I had all kinds of funky buildings and stuff, and I even threw in some Robotech stuff that was the right scale, and all sorts of things that were wildly not to scale. On one hand, realism is a goal, on the other hand having weird stuff is par for the course.  Hence, the existence of this:


Why the IRS?  Who cares!   Why not just a plain and austere IRS building for the train set?  Of course not – burn that sucker down!

You can still buy the set today from Model Power, complete with flashing fire lights and a tiny smoke machine, all of which you can see here, with a special appearance by King Kong.  Why not?  Model railroad guys are freakin’ crazy.

Professional Gianting Is Over

While researching old news, I stumbled across this story of economic hardship and the ever-changing employment market from 1917:


“There’s nothing in professional gianting any more, states R. E. Madson of Norfolk, Neb. , a 20-year-old youth who stands 7-1/2 feet in his stockings…”There isn’t enough money in the circus business any more to attract a real big man,” said young Madson.  “There’s no reason why a man who is a few inches, or a foot or two over the scale, should not use his brains and live like a man and not a freak.  I don’t find it hard to do.”

There’s a certain amount of naivete in Madson’s quote, and not just because he’s promoting his movie in North Dakota.  Here’s Ralph Madsen a couple years later:



The movie that Ralph Madsen was promoting in ND in 1917 doesn’t show up in his IMDB listing, but Madsen did have other plans to use his intellect and skills.   Madsen was an expert in livestock raising and veterinary care, and being a skilled rancher seemed to be his goal in life.  Based on the picture above and others,  young Mr. Madsen apparently discovered that you can take a giant out of the circus, but you won’t ever completely get the circus out of the giant.

Free 3D Mustache

It seems you can 3D print anything these days, from a bikini to a gum-chewer’s face to a gun —  but some people in Colorado are putting the technology to an even better use:  manufacturing fake mustaches in fancy colors!  If you live in Denver you can get one of your own this weekend, by attending the “Intro to 3D Printing” class at The Concoctory on Saturday.


Turtle Outfits

I refuse to believe these have any practical use.  The only explanation is that this Etsy shop is where turtle superheroes get all their outfits.  Supervillains, maybe, but I’ve never heard of a turtle supervillain before.  Turtles can’t be evil, can they?


(they’re so you can see your turtle when they wander away in your lawn.  Don’t worry, it’s a turtle, you still have several days to catch up with them before they’re out of eyeshot. )