I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

What is it about
that particular
beach that
makes me feel
all nine-years-old
again , I wonder ?

It’s amazing to me
that after all these
years, that a stroll
down the boardwalk
at night still makes
me every bit as
excited as it would then.

It’s not the wild
whirl of the
amusement rides,
the dark appeal of
mysterious shops,
the animation of
people all around,
.. or the ubiquitous
neon buzz of the
Mac’s Pizza signs
every block or so…..

I stop to ponder
further upon it.

Perhaps the
explanation lies
within some quiet
compromise of
sensory remembrance –

the sounds of the
great ocean swift
sweeping in and
out of that same
beach where I had
spent so many
happy hours –

my ocean –

– eyes tracing the place
on the pier where I was
gifted my very first kiss,
feeling still, the covert
tenderness of that hour,

her kiss –

– sniffing that special
fragrant balance of ocean,
sweat, and the oh-so-
sweet perfume of being
on vacation,

– the memory-tasting
of walk-around foods
of all kinds.

But there’s also
something essential
that’s not of bodily
sensation at all –

So, what is it,
I ask?

And as I pause
once more to
wonder at it,
I suddenly
perceive what
seems to be
a rift in time –

my head is spinning
and I find myself in
the strangest state
of mind –

like I could simply
leap over the railing
and dive into the
‘there and then’ –

until a blaring
Watch The Tramcar
brings me back to
the ‘here and now’.

and yes,
shaken a bit,
I commence
to stroll
once more,
and before long
it comes to me
what the missing
aspect was –


Yes, above all
those other things –

– it was the lovely
languorous freedom

freedom to walk,
or not walk –

freedom to swim
or not swim,

freedom to eat
or not eat –

freedom to be …
freedom to be me.

See ?


!!! HOY !!!

Not Just Scraps of Old Paper


I got a very nice email
from a new reader
asking about how to
start a postcard collection —

today’s post.

My favorite old history professor
used to say:

” An interested person can learn
a lot about a contemporary society from its’ relics.

christmasI never doubted that to be true,
since I was, even as a young man,
interested in collecting ephemera from the past.

Over the years,
I’ve collected all kinds of things,
from old cameras and stamps,
to photos and cookie jars.

And they’re all illuminating in their own way,
allowing me a glimpse into the
minds and hearts of those who have gone before us,

slow….. through the embodied art,
creativity and craftsmanship of the collectible in question.

One of the most fascinating and instructive
collectibles for the history buff interested
in the late 19th and early 20th century,
are vintage postcards.

There really is a world of fun to be found
in the fascinating variety of vintage collectible post cards!

westThere are very few others that will allow
one such an intimate glimpse into that period–

it’s like the guy said —
Fine words butter no parsnips.

No.. wait..
that wasn’t exactly the quote I was looking for…….

Oh yes… here it is.
Pictures speak louder than words. “…
……….. and they really do in old postcards.


You might have figured out by now
that I have rather an eclectic sense of taste,
which postcard collecting suits just perfectly.

There are vintage postcards
for every interest, any subject…

……… and that’s one of the
real charms of post card collecting.

Just name it..

….. and it’s out there somewhere.

If you like elephants,

I bet you could end up
with a collection of literally thousands
of vintage cards featuring elephants.

I like silly humor…3
… and consequently,

many of my cards have to do
with stuff that my ancestors thought were funny,

…… even if folks today might not
always see the humor in it.

From the late 1800’s until the mid 1950’s,
thousands of printing companies
produced millions of cards…

…………which means you can
really have your choice of what you like.

Most collectors focus on a particular kind of card.

What you choose to collect could be based on:situp

Subject matter ,
like old amusement parks or political cards,

Date — from 1900 to 1910, for instance,

Type of material it’s made from–
( postcards were made out of all kinds
of different materials, including wood and metal ! )

Type of printing, like lithography or hand-tinted

Portraits, landscapes, and art

Publishing company

……… Or any kind of theme at all.

5The most popular cards
to collect include military subjects —

( there are some really cool examples from World War II )

Many of the postcards from this era
really communicate the hardships
that those in the service were enduring,

—- as well as their take-it-all-in-stride kind of humor about it.

The illustrations often make interesting contrast
to the hand scripted message on the back,
which gives the collector a peek
into a sender’s personal life all those years ago.

chicagoAnother very popular type of
post card collecting is “travel” cards.

These often show places
that are either no longer extant,

….. or have changed so much
over the years as to be almost unrecognizable .

I always enjoy finding cards like that…
…….. it almost allows you to keep a piece of that history alive.


I think you can see that a postcard collection can really become an emotional attachment.

That’s due in part to the fact that we tend to choose cards that we personally can relate to,

whether it be from a childhood memory,
a pining for simpler times,
or a love for a particular subject or theme.

Maybe we just forgot to take a picture
when we were at a certain place,
and want to remember it the way it was.a2

I can’t even explain why I have some cards…

…………they scratch an itch that I can’t exactly identify,

and certainly can’t reach.

I guess some cards
don’t really have to fit
into any specific category….

But, the card at right fits into a group
of which is euphemistically called
” French Postcards “.

In this case,
very mild
” French Postcards “.

They can range from very mild to…..

much less milder.

Me, I collect them
under the heading “Bawdy” …

……. which includes any funny post card for adults.


Whatever you end up collecting….

…. remember this.

Your collection doesn’t have
to be something you just stash away in the closet !

( ok–
you might not take your bawdy ones to work with ya… )

Most vintage post cards
are inexpensive enough
that you can share them and
not be overly concerned
about their potential loss of value .

You can keep your collection
in protective sleeves,
in a photo album,
….. or just put em in a box.

1aYou could put your favorite ones in a frame,

or send em to friends,

or even post your collection on the internet…

pinterest or tumblr would be ideal sites for it.

Some of the fun is in the sharing !


drop me a postcard,
and let me have a peek
at what you find !!!

Donald McGill’s Christmas Postcards

mcgill1If you’ve been paying
any attention at all
to the Muscleheaded Blog–

( and who could blame
you if you weren’t )

I know you’ve seen
this guy’s work before….

… even if you didn’t know
who he was, exactly.

His name is Donald McGill,

he was from England,donaldmcgill

and during his active working life as an artist,

between 1900 and 1960,

he was considered to be the:

“King of the Saucy Postcard”.

Saucy meaning humorous,

mcgillingredients—-  with a heapin’ helpin’
of double entendre .

If you like this blog,

you probably like his postcards, too.

His distinctive simply-drawn
style is relatively easy to spot,

.. and the earthy humor
is very approachable.

And, just like the MH Blog,

there were plenty of people,
over the years,

didn’t appreciate McGill’s
signature combination,

of simple, sarcastic and sexy, of course.

The Germans,

— during World War I, for instance,

didn’t exactly enjoy Donald McGill’s
snarky anti-Kaiser propaganda …

not one bit.

And despite his patriotic poster
and card war-work ,

… he never became what you would
call an insider in British society.

He once told a reporter that even
his children didn’t like to be seen
near a shop that sold his postcards.

Tsk tsk.

During the 30’s,mcgillmale

very vocal critics in English media
and politics weren’t all that fond
of his willingness to lampoon
anything and everything….

…. especially the strict social mores
and class structures of post-Edwardian England.

And after World War II,

— a consortium of Brit blue-noses
ganged up on a then 80-year-old McGill
and had him prosecuted for obscenity–

This, in turn, practically drove the
postcard industry in England out of business,

mcgillkiss— for a while, anyway.

The ‘saucy seaside postal card’
almost went the way of the dinosaurs.

But, he’s certainly also had his fans —

George Orwell wrote an essay on his work,

— and he has a large following of collectors,

both in the United States and Great Britain,

who specialize in finding his cards.

There is now even a museum featuring
his postcard designs on the Isle of Wight (in Ryde).

kiplingAnd despite the fact that much of his work
is so obviously created for a British audience,

… one of his ‘saucier’ post-card punch-lines
even made it to American television.

The Beverly Hillbillies, that is.


Ellie Mae’s boyfriend
(played by Louis Nye)
asked her if she liked Kipling.

To which she (Donna Douglas) replied:

I don’t rightly know, I’ve never kippled “.

mcgillshiftTake out the faux southern accent,

……… and that’s pure Donald McGill.


while I have featured several
of his postcards on the MH blog previously,

I have never done a post
about his cards created
for the Christmas/New Year Holidays….

And December does seem
as good a time as any, right ?

It actually it’s too logical for this blog,

— but we’ll go with it anyway.mcgilltrousers

I find his Holiday work particularly enjoyable….

It’s a nice change from the usual themes–

of snow covered lanes,
and the more sentimental/religious images,

that we usually see on Christmas cards.

As far as I’m concerned,

it’s not a real holiday without a little fun,

pollyholly…… and I always prefer the naughtier kind.

( In just about everything,
….. now that I think about it. )


I’m only human.

McGill was thought to have designed
over 12,000 different cards in his long career,

— but the Holiday pieces
he drew number under 50.


not only are they fun,

— but they’re pretty unique, too.

I hope you enjoy them….

You never know….

….  maybe you’ll become a Donald McGill fan, too.

HOY !!!