Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Incipient midwinter holidays, but I refuse to celebrate yet ... mostly.

Midwinter holidays are on the horizon, and with them all the crass commercialism you could possibly expect! I guess I should be more excited about crass commercialism given that I am currently writing a blog post for a retail establishment, but I always feel somewhat resistant. So I won't mention midwinter holidays. Much. Yet.

Our last dragon-shaped brass candle-holder was sold in record time, but we've got more where that came from! For Collectors:

Lovely, right? And in fact, this is a two-candleholder set! Here are both of them together, lit by an excessively bright light:

Normally their shininess is more muted, as per the first picture. But the bright light in the second picture shows us every tiny and detailed scale! If you missed the first dragon candleholder, then these can be yours for $135.00. They might also make lovely romantic lighting for your holiday dinner. Wait, I said I wouldn't talk overmuch about the holidays.

Okay, you know what's not about the holidays? These Affordable and Interesting antique 1920s-1930s chapbooks from the "Chicago Tribune":

At first I was somewhat puzzled by these little pamphlets, and thought they might be a magazine-ish thing like I highlighted in our last blog entry. But then I read inside the front cover of one, and lo, all my questions were answered!

The first Linebook was published in 1924 and since then it has become a yearly event, looked forward to by a steadily increasing number of people whose mornings would not be complete without reading the famous Richard Henry Little's "A Line o' Type or Two" in the "Chicago Tribune". The gay and impish tone of the column, made up of unregenerate laughter at the foibles of men, acid thrust at their follies, philosophy masked in humor, and the steady reminder that few things are to be taken seriously, pervades these small anthologies.

The pamphlet also asserts that they always went quickly out of print due to demand, and remained treasured possessions of those who purchased them. This may or may not be true, but I can attest that they are definitely really cool, if only for the covers:

This one too!

They are even cool on the inside, notwithstanding the fact that ... as it turns out ... I couldn't get away from the holidays even here:

That's an image from the inside of one pamphlet. Here's the text, retyped for your reading convenience:

Christmas Suggestions For the man who hasn't got a shirt: A shirt. For a man who wants an automobile: An automobile. For the girl who wants a skunk skin coat: A skunk skin coat. For a lady who wants a new set of false teeth: A new set of false teeth. For a boy who wants a fine set of skates: A fine set of skates. For a young man who wants a saxophone: A swift kick in the pants.

We sell Linebooks at prices ranging from $4.50 to a bit over $20.00. I won't comment about what kind of gift they would make.

Finally, this week's Favorite cannot possibly have anything to do with midwinter holidays:

Anansi is an African folk hero: a spider, clever and sly, who is always getting into hijinx and tricking the other jungle animals. If you Google for Anansi then you'll come up with tons of websites devoted to his adorable and brilliant exploits. This 1954 book is an especially great Anansi item, however. Firstly, because it's got neat illustrations:

Secondly, because it belonged to the pioneering African-American sociologist St. Clair Drake! Drake was a force to be reckoned with; he developed some of America's first African-American Studies departments, and was an advisor to the first prime minister of Ghana. Also, he wrote an awful lot. Drake's name is written on the inside front cover of this little Anansi book, and you can purchase it for $20.00.

See? No midwinter holidays when I covered Anansi. Our next blog post will have to be all about midwinter holidays, I suppose. But I guess it's okay if it's only one entry! Stay warm, gentle readers ....

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