Time For A Breather? Time For A Reality Check.


I spy with my little eyes a a trim little number working in the flower garden, wearing a jaunty yellow scarf and prissy white gloves to protect his manicure, with a clear oral fixation, hand on hip, jutted out all sassily.  Uh-oh.  The issue is not Mom’s beer.  The issue is Mom’s a beard.

I Don’t Always Drink Beer, But When I Do…


…it’s Dos Equis.  Actually, that’s not true.  I very rarely drink beer, and I can’t recall the last time I had a Dos Equis.  But the fact that that tagline is in my head means Dos Equis did a hell of a job marketing their beer with their pitchman, The World’s Most Interesting Man–who, incidentally, reminds me of Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, the star of Fantasy Island, which came on after Love Boat.  It always comes back to Love Boat for me.  It’s my seven degrees of Kevin Bacon.   

Women and wine go hand-in-hand.  You’ve seen the ecards.

wineGrapes are healthy, right?  Actually, these ecards seem kind of pathetic.  The women are often alone.  But beer is where it’s at for socializing.  Check out this ad for beer in the Fifties:

"Friends from across the Lake"
“Friends from across the Lake”

It’s not wine, women, and song, but it’s beer, women, and song.  The broads are dressed to the nines, spinning tunes and knitting, while casually-dressed men smoke pipes, throw back a pint, and wave to chums down at the pier, enjoying a twilight canoe ride.  The soft glow of the lantern invites you in to the scene.  I love it!  And why wouldn’t I?  It was painted by Haddon Sundblom, the man who brought us the genius of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus, the standard by which we measure all shopping mall Santas.

Another work of art is this watercolor by John Gannam, “Around the Swimming Pool,” used in an ad for the U.S. Brewers Foundation.

L062848Keep in mind that this was 1948, so everyone was thin.  And yes, everyone was fairskinned, so not every token ethnicity is represented, the way they are sprinkled in to department store ads in current acceptable proportion these days.  Just get past that, you PC freaks.  The focus here is on the technique.  This is ART.  You an keep your abstracts; I’ll take mine uplifting like this.  A sunny day, a refreshing creek (clearly without water moccasins), stylish kerchiefs, Betty Grable legs, snacks at the ready…  Who wouldn’t want this life?  Even the most devout teetotaler is not immune to those Tang-tinted mugs o’ ale.

I imagine that creek runs down past the neighbor’s back yard, a few doors down, where the festivities continue.

Douglas Crockwell's "Birthday Party for Dad"
Douglas Crockwell’s “Birthday Party for Dad”

What a sweet back yard!  Is that a waterfall in the background?  The current looks pretty strong there in the foreground, but that’s not keeping Esther Williams from playfully flirting splashing her friend’s husband, the one hiding her first trimester pregnancy in the robe.  Seriously, who wears a swim cap to a Frank Lloyd Wright back yard shindig?  She must have just had her hair did.  Or maybe it’s tinted pink, from an inept Beauty School drop-out.  Either way, beer belongs.  You better recognize.  

Starring In Our Own Late Late Show

bogartI always liked this image from one of my Hollywood golden years picture books.  An interesting snippet from their lives.  But it also seemed sad, since Humphrey Bogart only lived a few more years.

Esophageal cancer ultimately claimed him, and he only weighed 80 pounds (36 kg) when he died on January 14, 1957.  The things cancer can do to a body.  That’s another thing I don’t get.  I guess he was right when he said, “Things are never so bad they can’t be made worse.”

I suppose that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, though.

“Look, Bogey!  I see a pack of unfiltered Chesterfields that you haven’t smoked yet!”


And what happened to eight glasses of water a day?


Live and let live, I guess.  We all have our vices and our downfall.  His widow, Lauren Bacall once said, “You can’t start worrying about what’s going to happen.  You get spastic enough worrying about what’s happening now.”  Amen.


Swellest Menu Art, Part III

Mayflower Menu
Mayflower Menu

Today is the final installment of vintage menus.  The above pic is a Thanksgiving menu, a feast that Americans celebrate at the end of November, which makes all politically correct people get their panties in a wad because Pilgrims and Indians (now called Native Americans) could never possibly have shared a squash and a smile.  But whatever.  We watch football with our families, gorge ourselves on turkey and casseroles, and save room for pie.  Come to think of it, why would anyone be eating in a RESTAURANT on Thanksgiving?  Anyhoo, here are the feast details (one may click to enlarge).


Those prices are pretty steep for modern times, and this menu is at least twenty years old.  Mercy!

Here is a cute breakfast menu from Varadero International in Cuba, all in Spanish.


pic102Coffee was A QUARTER.  Can you imagine buying a beverage for ONE coin?  What would the tip be?  A nickel?  Did waitresses walk around with jingling aprons as dimes clinked against pennies?  Consider the pain involved if she chose to “make it rain up in here.”

The next menu is from the Alta Mira Continental Hotel in San Francisco.  How this hideous design ever got approved is beyond me, as it’s ugly as a 1970s appliance set.


However, I would be willing to overlook that if I could still procure either the filet mignon or the Half Lobster Delight for under $5, as advertised.


Bratten’s Grotto in Utah included actual photos on their large fold-out menu:

Cattlemen’s in Fort Worth–in bright taxi-cab yellow–had an interesting cocktail menu, which included both a Tio Pepe and a Tia Maria.

This final menu shows the name of its owner in the left corner, and its age, with the dates from 1961-1972.  I love the sea foam green, the cheese saltines, and the ten ways to prepare a potato.

Thanks for peeking back in time with me!

Sweller Menu Art, Part II

Today we have the second installment of menu art.  This disturbing menu is from L’Etoile in Nob Hill, San Francisco.  Are the cherubs protecting them from harmful UV rays?  I’m concerned that m’lady is self-tuning in to Tokyo.  Perhaps she is listening with her bosom–or is that Madonna’s great-great-great grandmother doing colonial vogueing?


L'Etoile In Nob HillNext is a Maison des Crepes, where you can get a crepe, salad bar, AND a drink for only $1.65.  The Crepe Devil looks intriguing…


pic096I don’t know where this is from, but frankly, it gives me the willies.  The incomplete artwork looks like a storyboard scene from a Hitchcock film, and the writing is very aggressive, like they’re peeved they even had to bother with a menu.  Just trying to read it out loud makes me sound like the Swedish Chef on The Muppets.


pic098We’ll end with this festive Exposition Fish Grotto, which I’m sure you’ve heard of, since it’s “World-Famous.”  Note more naked cherubs, getting merry and gay off a barrel of Paul Masson.



Yes, I also am thinking of Orson Welles right now.

Swell Menu Art, Part I

Maxim’s Restaurant Francais in Houston, TX

I scored some super cute vintage menus at an estate sale several years ago and thought I would share, since I find them aesthetically superior to any contemporary art museum collection.

From Campy:

To Watercolor:

To bonafide art on this 1957 St. James’s Restaurant menu (Juillet-Aout only), just so you know the sardines are FRESH:

MÉHEUT Mathurin,  Sardiniers démaillant la sardine
MÉHEUT Mathurin, Sardiniers démaillant la sardine

Note the selections on the reverse side, and that delicious Cafe Sanka takes ten minutes to prepare–for the finer palatte.


And lastly, Fortnum & Mason had a very Around The World in 80 Days feel to it.

Their menu included Sardines on a Raft, Hot Cheese Flan, Ovaltine, and Horlicks–of which I had never heard.  Hungry yet?

Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink And Operate Chainsaws


I’ve heard of helping your buddies move and then sharing a case of beer, but this is a different breed of cat.

Here’s how I think it all went down.  Dapper Dan left the firm early, but not before enlisting Kip and Truman from accounting as his partners in landscaping.  They floored their Studebakers to suburbia with an urgency mandating no time to change out of their office duds or set their fedoras down.  Curse you, early sunset!  In the past two hours, Dan has felled a tree, while Kip and Truman have laid the steps along the pathway.  Won’t Betty be surprised?

Now it’s time for a break.  Kip raises his spade, and Dan tops off his (third) glass of sociable whiskey (it pairs well with Pall Malls).  Don’t snag your trousers while you straddle that trunk.  And save some Corby’s for the other two.  You remember what happened last time, Dan.

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