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Wow, November is around the corner!Is there anyone that I know, who puts their Christmas tree up in November? I'm just curious! I think I'm going to put mine up early this year! Anybody want to join me?

Gingerbread greetings...I love these gift tags! Trace the outline of a gingerbread man cookie cutter onto brown paper;cut out and dress up the simple silhouette with bits of fabric, ribbon and rickrack for a personalized gift tag!
Seasonal Surprises...These fun and festive totes offer a creative way to put leftover gift-wrapping supplies to good use. Ribbon scraps are ideal accents for the ball ornament appliques, while small lengths of extra tissue paper secured with a colorful pipe cleaner add a merry twist to traditional treat sacks. (I have a friend in Mesa, who keeps small little gifts in gift sacks like these in a large basket by her front door, when guests come to visit through the holidays, she passes them out!)
Traditional tags crafted from colorful card stock give a whimsical touch to holiday gift-giving. Accessorize with buttons, stickers and scrapbook notions for three-dimensional appeal!

This past weekend, I spent most of my time in front of my computer working on two different projects.

The first was the final stages of my annual Christmas CD - as October draws to a close, we enter the assembly phase of this yearly undertaking. All of the artwork is nearly ready to cut, stick, and be arranged on each of the copies I'll be sending to family and friends.

Needless to say, this meant my workspace around the computer (located in our library room at our home) was littered with CD covers and labels that were spit out by my trusty HP printer at a steady rate. It was a mess in here for a time.

The second project was done while waiting for everything to be printed. I updated the layout and added tags to the yuleblog for the first time in its existence. Most of yesterday was spent trying to figure out how to post a tag cloud to the template but that left me confused and frustrated (not the first time that's happened).

After a weekend of adding tags like Track Reviews, Christmas Organ, and Videos (with more tags to add), handling more paper than accountants do around tax time, and looking at the calendar to see our family has a short week (due to P-T conferences, the kids get a 4 1/2 day Halloween weekend), I'm pressed for time right now.

I'll be working offline much of this week until we throw all the kids in the car for a weekend trip somewhere. Have fun exploring the tags - new posts to arrive next week.


This idea came from the creative craft room of Lynna Hall! Brianna has loved this cute little "ABC" Book from her Grandma Lynna! I have also cherished this gift! Lynna made each grandchild from baby to eight years of age a "ABC" Gospel Book along with a "I spy" rice bag and laminated pass along cards paper punched on a ring! She put all these contents in to small colored canvas bags with embroidered "My Church Bag". We have loved taking this little bag to church! It's a great Gift! These are a few samples from Brianna's book!

In addition to collecting Christmas music, I have collected nearly 1000 vintage Christmas ads over the years. Many of these include celebrities, radio, television, cigarettes, liquor, modern appliances, and the like.

Last Friday and every Friday from here until I run out, I will feature an ad from my collection.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

Back in 1990, Spy Magazine did a scientific study on Santa's annual trip around the world. To quote:

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

That's an awful lot of milk and cookies for the Big Guy to eat after leaving presents.

Putting aside the possibilities that Santa is a binge eater, lactose intolerant, or has a lavatory equipped sleigh, what happens when (not IF, when) he gets an upset stomach or indigestion along the way?

Tum ta-tum-tummmmmm (apologizes to Jack Webb):

(Click on image to enlarge)

Rest assured, good people. Santa proclaims it himself at the top of this half-page ad. At first glance, it looks like Santa's moved up from milk and cookies to whole pies. But look more carefully at what's behind him!

Hey kids! It's okay to buy an antacid for Christmas!

Let your eye peruse down to around the big "S" - a gloriously wrapped carton of Tums as a Christmas present. Imagine the looks you'd get on Christmas morning if you follow their advice - "thoughtful gift for mother or dad". Then observe the words written above "Tums" on the open roll next to the gift carton. Sweet!

What do you think?

Stubbyfears says: The older I get, the more in tune with the idea I am. Especially since "Tums are antacid--not a laxative."

Any other opinions?


Brandi made this card at a Home Enrichment class last year! Brandi loves making cards, she's a great Little Santa's Elf!

Yesterday morning, I met with my best friend Joel who's constantly on the lookout for anything Christmas that I don't already own in my collection. He actually found this album on eBay and called my wife to scan through my collection to see if I already had it. She looked at my CDs and not the albums - Joel bid and won.

When I opened this and stared at the cover, I was floored. Joel immediately screamed for and cried tears of joy, thinking he had found something I didn't own.

"Ummm, Joel?"

With those two words, his bubble was burst. However, when I explained that I didn't own the artwork, then he perked up. Thanks Joel for trying to find something new and succeeding (sorta). I'm confident you'll come up with something like you did when you introduced me to Jana.

What does this me for you? It means if you visit the original L'il Wally & The Harmony Boys post, you'll find a new link for full high-resolution scans of this album you may or may not already own, period. Happy viewing...


This was downloaded at the Members Share forum of FaLaLaLaLa on November 30, 2006 at 12:07 AM. Veteran FLLLL'er Inkydog posted this unique album there for all to share. Last Christmas, he posted this very same album at his own blog Cheerful Earful - go download and hurry back!

Some of you are asking yourself "Who's Helen O'Connell?" She was born in Lima, Ohio on May 23, 1920 and her family eventually moved to the metropolis known as Toledo to settle in. It was here that Helen began singing and was noticed by bandleader Jimmy Richards.

She went on the road with Richard's nine-piece orchestra and toured the country for 1 1/2 years. This exposure led to a radio show in St. Louis for a brief time until Larry Funk and his Band of A Thousand Melodies persuaded O'Connell to go with them to New York City in 1938.

While in New York, popular bandleader Jimmy Dorsey heard Helen sing in a nightclub and wanted her in his band. O'Connell said goodbye to Funk and signed on with Dorsey. This led to a string of successful hits for the Dorsey band including "All Of Me", "Embraceable You", and this little ditty:

In December, 1940, Dorsey decided to pair up ballad singer Bob Eberly with O'Connell and the combination clicked immediately. Their records took off, got huge jukebox airplay, and had hits such as "Amapola", "Tangerine", and "Green Eyes" which became their most popular song.

O'Connell won the 1940 Metronome magazine poll for best female vocalist and was selected by Down Beat readers as best female singer in 1940 and 1941. She went with Dorsey to Hollywood where they made several more records and motion pictures. Helen was featured in three movies ("The Fleet's In", "I Dood It", and "Sing, Helen, Sing") all between 1942 and 1943.

At the height of her popularity, Helen decided to get married in 1943 and retired from show business to settle down and have children. She rose three children but her marriage failed and she was divorced in 1951.

She soon jumped back into show business as a solo and began appearing in nightclubs, sang on the Capitol label between 1950-1955, and even appearing on the new medium of television. She made appearances on "The Colgate Comedy Hour" and was a featured performer on Russ Morgan's TV show of 1956.

Helen even awoke early for several years as the host of NBC's "The Today Show" from 1956 to 1958. In the middle of that run, she was given her own 15 minute summer show on NBC. Airing from May 29th to September 6th, 1957, the show was aired twice a week - Wednesdays and Fridays - in a time slot that followed the NBC network news program.

Around this time, Helen married novelist Tom T. Chamales and continued with her career appearing on TV anthology series like "The Bell Telephone Hour" but her marriage was on the rocks. She filed for divorce from Chamales in 1960 but the case never went to court. Chamales was the victim of an apartment fire and died in the blaze.

Throughout the 1960s, O'Connell toured with the reconstituted Jimmy Dorsey band, continued her appearances on television, and even made albums like the one you see here.

This album was on the Singcord label - a musical subsidiary of Zondervan Publishing House. Zondervan used to run the Singspiration label along with their own Zondervan label in the 1960s. However, many Internet sites claim that the Singcord label was run only in the 1970s.

So this album could very well be from that decade. Judging by the pictures of O'Connell and The Nashville Sounds Children's Choir on the back cover, it's likely it was from the 1970s. However, with no dates listed (and no complete O'Connell discography online for reference), there's no guarantee.


1.) Sleep Holy Child
Pretty version of a Singspiration published song. O'Connell's in fine voice.

2.) Silent Night
This version by Helen and the Nashville Sounds Children's Choir is unique thanks to its different arrangement of "Silent Night" and another song.

3.) Rock-A-Bye
A lullaby to baby Jesus... Not a Christmas song in the traditional sense but I can see why it's here...

4.) Away In A Manger
Another different arrangement (see #2 above). This one sound Elizabethian thanks to the harpsicord intro.

5.) The Little Drummer Boy
Straight forward version - very 1970s sounding. Not bad.

6.) No Room
A song about Joseph and Mary's hotel problems in Bethlehem. O'Connell sounds a lot like Vikki Carr and the song has a then-and-now James Bond feel to it - this is surprisingly good!

7.) What Child Is This?
Lovely version with a taste of Medieval thrown in for flair.

8.) Gentle Shepherd
Not really Christmas but the madigral flavor lingers...

9.) O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Touching version of this carol - an unknown adult choir adds its two cents - and Helen sings perfectly.

10.) Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy
Take this venerable West Indian carol and add harpsicord, flutes, and guitars (sounds like King Arthur's court). It's puzzling but fun to listen to.

Overall, this is a good Christmas album - slightly heavy on the spiritual side, but it's worth a listen to. One can only imagine what Helen would have done with a full Christmas album (with carols and standards like "White Christmas") back in her heyday.

O'Connell remained very much in the public eye in the 1970s - she was the co-host of the "Miss Universe" pageant with Bob Barker from 1972 to 1980 and even toured with a revue entitled "Four Girls Four" with Rosemary Clooney, Kay Starr, and Rose Marie for a time.

She married Frank DeVol (yes, Happy Kyne from "Fernwood 2-Night") in 1989 and was actively performing until her death from liver cancer brought on by hepatitis C in 1993.

Thanks Inkydog for sharing this with us!


In addition to collecting Christmas music, I have collected nearly 1000 vintage Christmas ads over the years. Many of these include celebrities, radio, television, cigarettes, liquor, modern appliances, and the like.

Last Friday and every Friday from here until I run out, I will feature an ad from my collection.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

Everyone wants a really good Christmas present. Every December 25th, there amongst your individual piles of swag you got from Santa and your family are gifts that you really love, like, dislike, or really dislike.

Many people shop for themselves at Christmas - and why not? You yourself know what you want for Christmas. Placing ones faith in Santa only goes so far. It's okay to splurge on yourself for that fine, FINE present you've always dreamed of.

This was the attitude of the Colt Gun Company back in 1939 when they came up with a doozy (and I mean doooooozy) of a Christmas ad:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Here you go - put this beauty under the tree and watch the kids go for it on Christmas morning! It's perfectly fine - paramedics work on Christmas Day too. By the placement of the note next to the gun, we could be looking at a crime scene.

What do you think?

Stubbyfears says: As Santa once said in a great cinematic moment: "You'll shoot yer eye out, kid!"

Ernie says: Eventually you'll end up with that Santa from Futurama who's always going around killing people and what-not. Nobody wants that.

Inkydog says: Sounds like they want you to put a bullet in your head for the holidays! Special delivery courtesy of Colt. Ho-Ho-Ho-Bang!

Any other opinions?


In January of this year(2008), we were snow sking in Park City, Utah!. I was able to do some fun shopping with my sister Annette, which always involves a lot of laughter and good times! I was so amazed at all the cute hand sewn bags that are everywhere! My sister and I deciced to make one out of the Christmas Fabric that we had just bought!(Mormon Handicraft) Thanks to Annette, my professinal "sew" coach, I have a great Christmas Bag! The bags are lined with pockets, I love it! There are a lot of cute patterns for these great bags at most quilt and fabric stores! I started making bags all year long, they are addicting! We also made bags in Young Womens! I think the bags make a great gift, especially filled with Christmas treats!

Looking at the calendar, we are nearly two months away from Christmas. This past week, I've been reloading, re-uploading, relinking, and rewinding to stay one step ahead with my workload before the holiday madness descends on us all.

So here are my shares from 2005 - 2007 - up and active and waiting for you. Please post a comment after you've clicked on an album you've been waiting to get - a simple "thanks" is sufficient!

1983 Air Force Public Service Spots - Disc V

The Alcoa Singers - An Olde-Fashioned Christmas

Around The Christmas Tree - A Special Christmas Day Program

Pat Boone - White Christmas

Bowen & Csehy - Christmas Steepletime

Owen Bradley & His Quintet - Joyous Bells Of Christmas

Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani - The Sound Of Christmas

Capitol Production Music

Christmas 1971 Veteran's Administration Hospital Program

CLM Industries - Christmas 1961 - SINGLE

A Country Christmas

Jimmy Dean - Jimmy Dean's Christmas Card

Fogwell Flax & The Ankle Biters From From Freehold Junior School - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

Pete Fountain - Candy Clarinet: Merry Christmas From (STEREO)

DeWayne Fulton - Christmas Greetings From

Funky Christmas (Cotillion Records)

Will Glahe & His Orchestra - Christmas On The Rhine

Earl Grant - Winter Wonderland

Ken Griffin - Christmas Organ

Alex Houston & Elmer - Here Comes Peter CottonClaus

Jim & Tammy - Christmas With Love

KFUO Presents Christmas Hymns And Carols

Carmen Le Nard - Jolly Snowman - SINGLE

Liberace - 1954 Christmas Greetings (w brother George) - FLEXI

L'il Wally & The Harmony Boys - A Polka Christmas

Sy Mann & The Malvin Carolers - Let's All Sing Christmas Carols

The Manhattans - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

The Bob Mantzke Choralaires - Christmas Songs

The Mom & Dads - Merry Christmas With

The Murk Family - Christmas With

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas

O Tannenbaum - Christmas On The Rhine

The Pac-Man Christmas Album

The Piano Rolls & Voices - All Time Christmas Hits

A Pink Panther Christmas

Bob Ralston - Christmas Hymns & Carols

Mickey Rooney - Merry Merry Micklemas

Del Roper & The Mason Swiss Bell Ringers - I Heard The Bells

Orion Samuelson - Christmas 45 - SINGLE

Shirley & Squirrely - Christmas With

Ethel Smith - Silent Night-Holy Night

The Soulful Strings - The Magic Of Christmas

Bobby Vinton - Christmas Promo EP

Justin Wilson - A Cajun Christmas With

Woody The Woodchuck - Christmas Sing Song (STEREO)

If there are broken links, let me know via the re-link request post. I'll try my best to get up older stuff first before moving onto the newer stuff. And don't forget to leave a comment on the album you chose to listen to!


Yesterday I was scrounging around in a Goodwill store and found this album - which freaked me out because I was due to write about it today - talk about coincidence!

This was yet another album brought to us by our pal Ernie (downloaded at his blog on November 29th, 2006 at 11:57 PM). Ernie was going through a Latin phase at the time - the other Christmas albums he shared around this time were from Menudo and Charo!

If you're still wondering "who is Jose Melis?", then take a trip with me to a time when there were only five channels on your B&W television.

Jose Melis was born in Havana, Cuba on February 27, 1920. He aspired to be a classical pianist and this took him to the Havana Conservatory of Music. When he was 16, he arrived in the United States and attended the Longy School of Music at first, then the Juilliard School of Music in New York. While he attended Juilliard, Melis began appearing in clubs around New York as a lounge pianist.

World War II broke out and the draft claimed Jose in 1943. His musical abilities were put to good use as the musical director for the USO's New York City branch. This gave Melis his first taste of show business and he played for many of the major stars who volunteered at the Stage Door Canteen.

It was at this club where Melis met a young comic fresh out of the Special Services named Jack Paar. The two hit it off well and they remained in touch over the next several years. When Paar got a shot on radio, he asked Melis to be the musical director. It wouldn't be the last time Paar asked Melis that question.

Paar was the host of two TV game shows - Up With Paar (1952) and Bank On The Stars (1953) and Melis was along for the ride. Their TV career looked bleak when CBS called and asked if they would be interested in a "Today" type of show in the morning. Entitled "The Morning Show", it went on the air in 1954 - their newsreader was Walter Cronkite!

After a failed radio show for ABC in 1956, Paar and Melis were ready to call it quits. They had been together for ten years and weren't getting any big breaks either in radio or TV. That changed when Paar appeared on several episodes of Jack Benny's TV show and made an impression on NBC.

NBC offered Paar "The Tonight Show" in 1957 - which had been floundering since Steve Allen's departure as host. Paar again asked Melis to be the musical director. They grabbed a desk, a few chairs, and set up a format that has been copied on nearly every talk show since.

The show became a phenomenon - the first water-cooler show in TV history. People were staying up late to watch and Paar made sure Melis played a vital part. Paar put Melis' orchestra on the stage - rather than in the pit - and he included Jose in the on-camera patter that became one of the trademarks of the show.

This new exposure brought Jose a recording contract through Seeco Records, a label devoted to Latin music. Melis recorded several albums for Seeco ("The Many Moods of Jose Melis", "Tonight - Jose Melis", "The Jack Paar Show - And Other TV Themes"), including the album you are looking at.

Throughout his career, many people mistook Melis for that other famous Latin musical genius / wizard Esquivel. Whereas Esquivel's music was gigantic, bold, and overwhelming, Melis' music was more sedate, structured, and soothing.

This album is just that - there are accents and flourishes but nothing that goes overboard. Melis plays it cool and calm on such songs as "Winter Wonderland", "Silent Night", and "Adeste Fideles" but doesn't forget to have fun on songs like "Sleigh Ride" (titled "Sleigh Bells"), "Jingle Bells", and "Toy Piano" - yes, a real toy piano was used!

However, the most endearing songs are the two on which Jose talk-sings. "The Story Of Christmas" was first performed on "The Morning Show" four years prior to this recording. Every Christmas since, Melis got mailbags full of requests to repeat the song - this being in the days when everything went out live (no reruns, no TiVo).

The other song is "Merry Christmas Music" - written with his guitar player especially for this album. Melis reminds us that Christmas would be nothing without the music. Amen.

Each one of these are touching - Melis' accent adds to the charm and he holds you spellbound with its simple melody. These will find a home down the road on my annual Christmas CDs.

Several years after the release of this album, Melis switched to Mercury Records and released several other albums while moonlighting as Paar's musical director. It was around this time that the emotional Paar was feuding with Walter Winchell and famously walked off his program over the term "water-closet".

Melis stayed with Paar until the end of their tenure on "The Tonight Show" in 1962. Melis went out on his own, appearing in nightclubs and concert halls alike. He eventually went on tour with Mel Torme, then Frank Sinatra on several occasions. His popularity began to wane and Melis settled into retirement.

In the mid-1970s, he suffered a serious vision loss followed by his hearing a decade later. In 2003, he moved from Bronxville, New York - the very same house he'd lived in since the "Tonight Show" days - to Sun City, Arizona where his son Michael cared for him. On April 7, 2005, Melis died from a respiratory infection.

Melis was the original Paul Shaffer - thanks for sharing this with us Ernie!


This was one of my favorite gifts for family, friends, neighbors, grandmothers, teachers or anyone that likes to cook! I made aprons! If you don't want to sew them, you can purchase canvas aprons at Michael's Craft Store! I found my pattern off of a Debbie Mumm apron panel from Walmart! I had so much fun making these aprons, my kids decided they wanted one also!

Inside the pockets of the aprons, I put recipe cards, cookie cutters, candy canes, Hot Cocoa mix, mixing spoons, measuring spoons, hot pads or towels, recipe book, and the Christmas recipe (shown below) rolled up with a bow around it! There are so many ideas of what you can put in the pockets! These are just a few!


4 Cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
3 cups of Forgiveness
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoons of hope
2 spoons of Tenderness
2 quarts of Faith
1 barrel of Christmas Cheer

Take Love and Loyalty and mix them thoroughly with Faith. Blend it with Tenderness, Forgiveness and Hope! Sprinkle abundantly with Christmas Cheer. Serve it daily with friendship to last all year!

You can Deck me later!

I always like to seek inspiration early, so I can get started on projects and hopefully finish them by Christmas! I love the pillow wraps, but I love Fabric, and this project allows for FABRIC! Actually, you can use place mats and sew ribbons on the ends to tie them! I have seen the Terra Cotta pots with so many different ways to fill them! I also love the Cookie bags, they would be cute inside the aprons! The gift wrap is simple, but yet very classy! The ribbon and embellishments make it fantastic! I also love the Christmas wreaths on the windows!
I hope you feel inspired!

I love this fun gift idea! I was inspired by a dear friend Rebecca, which Rebecca got the idea from a dear friend Sabra- Better Homes and Garden! Last year around Thanksgiving, Rebecca pulled out 12 pairs of black dress socks from a box that she was getting ready to send off to her brother-in-law who was serving a mission. She lined all 24 socks up on a rope, hung with clothes pins and put small gifts in each sock with a note inside! They were all numbered from one to 24 with the last sock of the 25th being a special sock or something that can easily be hung! These black socks were serving more then just socks to wear, they were 25 stockings hung with gifts of LOVE!

I started thinking about all the people that could benefit from this kind of gift.
one, our kids-- Two, grandparents, Three, teachers ( a note from each student in the class) How fun to find a note each day with a treat! My dear friend Brie made one for her kids and they had to do all their chores for the day, before they could get a treat out of the sock!

I decided to do this for my Dad, as he is alone. I thought it would be great for him to have a note each day that he could read from our family.(I actually did this as a Family Home Evening Project). I had everyone in our family write three notes, that covered 24 days! We put a note in each stocking with a special note for December 25! These 25 notes told their Grandpa what they loved about him or a favorite memory! When my Dad received his package, he called me up and was wondering why I sent him so many Christmas socks! I told him to look inside the sock titled Dec.1st and each day for the next 24 days, he would find a note inside a sock to him! He wanted to hang up immediately and read all his notes! I reminded him he had to read one a day! He looked forward to these notes each day! He saved all of the notes and was very grateful!

I think my children realized how important it is to give from the heart when we were visiting my Dad after Christmas! They all saw their notes saved on the counter! My Dad expressed his joy to my kids and how he looked forward to opening a note each day!

We also did this for our sweet Grandparents! My kids wrote notes and we put them in handmade stockings, which Grandma saved the stockings and made a darling scrapbook with the notes along with the stockings ( one on each page) with a picture of the kids.

A Stocking Tree would be very cute! Instead of hanging your hand made stockings on rope, place them in a box under the Christmas Tree and add to the Christmas Tree each day.

You could also do this as "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" for a neighbor or friend!

There are a lot of fun ideas with this project! This is how I got started:

1. I was able to find great socks at Target and Kohls! (They often go on sale at 50% off). You can even get them for a dollar at Target and also the Dollar Store! The really cute ones are at Target by the shoe department! Remember you only need 12 pair! For December 25th I hung a special stocking with a gift inside! ( I gave my Dad a gift card to Walmart on the 25th day) He loves Walmart:)

2. I got some cute Christmas braid from JoAnns or just use rope! I got clothes pins and put the socks along the rope how I wanted them to appear.

3. I purchased small treats and other small items for the socks. I prepared the tags, which it is best to laminate them if you want to use them year after year!
You can also use numeral stickers for the tags! (I used a black permanent marker)

4. For FHE, we tied the tags to the clothes pins and attached the socks to the rope!

5. Remember to send them early, so they will receive them by December 1st!
Buy treats that are not heavy, because when you fill all 25 socks, it becomes pretty heavy!

Happy Holidays! You can "Sock" me later!

In addition to collecting Christmas music, I have collected nearly 1000 vintage Christmas ads over the years. Many of these include celebrities, radio, television, cigarettes, liquor, modern appliances, and the like.

Last Friday and every Friday from here until I run out, I will feature an ad from my collection.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

Today we look at state of the art technology from 1982. The compact disc wasn't introduced to the public yet. Cell phones didn't exist. Forget about MP3 players - we had Sony cassette Walkmen (for the retail price of $189).

At Christmas, 1982, the home computer was beginning to make an impact on the public. You had plenty of choices - Atari, Commodore, IBM, Apple, Xerox, and Radio Shack all had products available for you to put under the Christmas tree.

Radio Shack's first computer was the TRS-80, which sold nearly 10,000 machines in its first month alone. With its 13" black and white monitor, its audio cassette data drive, and floppy disks that barely held half a megabyte, it was a huge splash in the marketplace. Never mind that it put out some much RF interference that it zonked out surrounding electronics!

By 1982, the TRS-80 Models II and III were introduced and they were priced to sell:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Check out that keyboard console - it looks like an old electric Smith-Corona without the carriage. And if it was me, I'd go for the color TRS-80 with extended BASIC with that super huge 32K memory and that spacious 256x192 screen resolution.

What do you think?

Jeff says: My family had one... The wonderful screeching of the audio cassette "drive"...

Ernie says: I learned all about computers on the Trash-80 model III and IV back in junior high. We had a lab full of 'em. The model IV's came with not one but two floppy drives! I never remember doing much work on them, but I sure played a lot of Zork.

Jeff says: Defender for me. And stunning graphics, pixels the size of your thumbnail... And Floppy drives? Whoa, whoa, whoa... way to advanced for me!

Any other opinions?


(Click on image to enlarge)

If you take a blood sample from our friend Ernie (Not Bert), you'll find 80% red blood cells, 10% white blood cells, and 10% vinyl. This was downloaded on November 29, 2006 at 1:54 PM from his blog and nearly two years later, I'm getting around to reviewing it - sheesh!

Back in the late 1940s, MGM - the movie studio with the roaring lion - created their own record label. For a time, they were the only movie studio with its own record label. By the mid-1950s, television had so badly eroded the box office that other movie studios needed new streams of revenue.

In 1957, Paramount began its record label and Warner Bros. were undecided as to start its own label. That changed when Dot Records signed then-WB star Tab Hunter to its label. Even though Hunter had an iron-clad exclusive movie contract with WB, without a record label, Tab was free to sign with Dot.

Sure enough, plans for Warner Bros. Records went into high gear and in March, 1958 - the first record on the new label came out. WB had reclaimed Tab hunter and his new single "Jealous Heart" (ironic, huh?) was released - the only charting record for the entire year!

Another mistake from the get go was ignoring rock n' roll. WB decided to go with pop, jazz, classical, spoken word, folk and gospel (see Clint Walker below).

Christmas releases for Warner Bros. in 1959 included George Greeley's "22 Best Loved Christmas Piano Concertos", the Guitar's Inc. "Guitars At Christmas", Ira Ironstring's "Ira Ironstrings Orchestra Plays Santa Claus", and the album you're looking at now.

To quote Ernie:

"This LP came out in 1959, and features the stars from then-current TV shows produced by Warner Brothers. The Warner Bros. record label was brand new at the time, and they were putting out all sorts of interesting stuff. (After you've downloaded it, look closely at the back label. They had so little product out at the time, they were recommending other companies records on their jackets!)"


1.) Efrem Zimbalist Jr. - Adeste Fideles
Zimbalist's voice is astoundingly good (that led to other non-Christmas recordings). Majestic.

2.) Warner Bros. Stars - Deck The Halls
All the assembled stars on the cover merge as one to sing a few choruses.

3.) Connie Stevens - Away In A Manger
Breathy rendition from cutie Connie. She and Edd Byrnes had a HUGE hit the same year with "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb"!

4.) Edward Byrnes - Yulesville
This song still has enough charm to give me a smile. That charm is almost used up. Next...

5.) Peter Brown - Winter Wonderland
Great voice and a snappy version of this song! He later starred with Pam Grier in "Foxy Brown"!

6.) Ray Danton - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
This guy could give Thurl Ravenscroft a run for his money. Another majestic song!

7.) Poncie Ponce - Mele Kalikimaka
Kazuo Kim sings again! Poncie got his start on "77 Sunset Strip", then moved over to "Hawaiian Eye".

8.) Eddie Cole - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The older brother of Nat (listen and feel the similarities), this was recorded near the end of Eddie's career - it swings, baby!

9.) Bob Conrad - White Christmas
I dare you to knock the battery off his shoulder... Robert Conrad sings marvelously - too bad we didn't get to hear more of that in "Wild Wild West" or "Baa Baa Black Sheep"!

10.) Dorothy Provine - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
From 1958 to 1968, Dorothy starred in many films and a great singing voice to match - then she got married and retired. This is a gem - she sounds a little like Dusty Towne from "SCTV"!

11.) Clint Walker - Silver Bells
A bonafide member of "The Dirty Dozen" singing a Bob Hope Christmas song! Remarkable! This was after Clint's walkout from Warner Bros. (see Ty Harden below) and his first album for WB - a gospel album entitled "Inspiration".

12.) Roger Moore - Once In Royal David's City
With his lordly British voice, Sir Roger narrates this song to great effect. The name is Templar... Simon Templar.

13.) Warner Bros. Male Chorus - Star Carol
I'm not sure if Clint, Roger, Bob Conrad, or Edd Byrnes sung on this - but whoever did does a nice job.

14.) Ty Hardin - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
This guy's Wiki entry is a trip - as for his singing... you gotta read this guy's Wiki entry. It's a trip!

15.) Warner Bros. Stars - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Several choruses of this ol' favorite from everyone on the cover and presto! End of album!

Ernie said in his initial review "If you don't find something in here to love, you may as well quit looking." I agree. I especially liked hearing 007 recite his story, Dorothy Provine, and Eddie Cole.

Most of the artists on this album sing well and the arrangements don't subtract or detract from their singing. And then there's Ty Hardin...

It's hard to imagine from these beginnings came the colossus known as Warner Music Group. As for MGM and Paramount record labels, they're long gone but the WB survived.


This is a sample of two pages taken from Brandon's book!

Last year at this time, I was pondering about Christmas and what I wanted to give my children for Christmas. I wanted less toys, less electronics, a more spiritual side of Christmas!

I decided I would make them a small scrapbook of What I love about them, what makes them special in my eyes! I was inspired by the fact that if anything ever happened to me, they would have this as a memento of my love for them!

I kept it very simple since I had 6 to make! Target has books where you just add photos. I like the 8X8 size! You can even buy 8X8 card stock paper to fit! It's best to do your own handwriting, because even your handwriting becomes a keepsake! I used stamps and found quotes that I liked and used a lot of words that best describes their personality on their pages. I have worried less about all the embellishments. The journaling and what is from your heart is far more important! If I have used embellishments, they are simple and fast!

My kids have loved them, even my older kids! It was fun to see them look at their books and see their smiles! It may seem over whelming at first, especially if you have a large family, so remember to keep it simple! This is how I got started! Scrapblog.com is a great resource if you choose to do it digital! You can print out your pages!

1. Write down the things that you love about your child, I included their strengths and accomplishments as well. I listed at least 8-10 things about each child.

2. I went through my pictures, and chose some of my favorite pictures that went best with how I felt about them, and the ones that best portrayed their personality and accomplishments!

3. On the first page, I started with a baby picture and expressed my feelings of gratitude and how blessed we are to have them in our family!

5. Put your pictures in the order of how you want them to appear in your book.

6. Have Fun! I found after making these books, I had a greater appreciation and a little more patience for my children!

In a previous post, I talked about the great website that is FaLaLaLaLa.com and mentioned several of the people I've met there. In today's post, we get to look at not ah-one, but ah-two Christmas cardboard flexis that were submitted by two longtime FLLLL members.

The first flexi was posted by Shemp at the Members Share forum of FLLLL. This was downloaded by me on November 28, 2006 at 3:25 PM.

Recorded especially for GM employees by GM employees, The General Motors Chorus was established in 1933 as one of the earliest employee activities within General Motors. I'm assuming this flexi was given to file and rank employees as a Christmas bonus.

Or perhaps they were played in the background throughout GM lunchrooms and UAW halls at Christmas time. In any case, you get a medley of standard Christmas carols on each side - all accompanied by a lone organ. The voices blend terrifically, the organ isn't too intrusive, and the end result is pleasing to the ear.

It's also a testament to its time. Back in the day, General Motors proudly sponsored this chorus - sending them to GM functions across the country. That ended back in 1978 when the GM Chorus became fully self sustained.

Today, there are approximately 80 members in the chorus, and less than one-half of the members are employed by, retired from, or spouses of GM employees. Membership is now open to anyone who loves to sing (and who preferably lives in the metro Detroit area).

If interested, check out the GM Chorus' website!

The same evening I downloaded the GM flexi, our friend PDMan, a longtime member of FLLLL, was inspired by Shemp to post his Christmas flexi - which I snagged at 9:12 PM.

I first learned of this Lawrence Welk Christmas flexi years earlier while visiting the Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records curated by the wonderful folks at WFMU-FM. If you dig deep enough, you'll find this very flexi and you can hear a snippet of this one-sided flexi.

Back in 1958, Lawrence Welk was hosting not one but TWO television shows for ABC - both sponsored by the Dodge Motor Company. So when Dodge needed help to push their new line of 1958 cars, they asked Welk if he'd be willing to lend a hand.

The idea was if you test drove a brand new 1958 Dodge, you would walk away with this flexi as a thank you. In some cases, people drove home with the flexi in their new Dodge!

With the assistance of "the luvly little Lennon Sisters", Welk opens the record by greeting us on behalf of "your nearby Dodge dealer." The Lennon Sisters sing "Merry Christmas From Our House To Your House" with wunnerful assistance from The Champagne Music Makers.

Welk thanks the Lennon Sisters, wishes you a very Merry Christmas, and utters a true Welkism as his closing line: "We'll be looking at you on television!".

Back cover of the Welk flexi

Shortly after Shemp and PDMan posted their flexis, I got into the spirit. On November 29, 2006, I posted an entry for the only Christmas flexi in my collection at that time - a 1954 Christmas Greetings Flexi from the one and only Liberace!

Earlier this year, an antiques store here in Fort Wayne had a physical copy of the Welk flexi which I picked up in ah-one and ah... I already used that joke earlier - no fair repeating. So that now makes two Christmas flexis in my collection!

I would love to find other Christmas flexis - I do recall that some time last year, a copy of the High Society flexi in the holiday section of the Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records sold for $80 or $90 on eBay.

And I would walk on through the wind, even walk on through the rain for a chance for to purchase this flexi.


The picture says it all.

The 2008 Chicago Cubs died a simple death on Saturday, October 4, 2008. Cause: no offense, shaky defense, and the weight of a century of losing.

My kids have tried to console me: "We'll get 'em next year, Dad". They don't know... Why did I ever subject them to this? I should be locked in jail for making them Cub fans.

Another cold winter to deal with but there's always the promise of a warm spring. Next February, when pitchers and catchers report, the whole process will begin again. And so it goes...

Click here to see whose bandwagon I've jumped on for the remainder of the season.


In addition to collecting Christmas music, I have collected nearly 1000 vintage Christmas ads over the years. Many of these include celebrities, radio, television, cigarettes, liquor, modern appliances, and the like.

Last Friday and every Friday from here until I run out, I will feature an ad from my collection.

I invite you to add a fun comment, witticism, clever remark, or observation in the comments section provided. Any comments deemed worthy of repeating will be included into this entry where all the world will see it.

We've covered some taboos here with these Christmas ads (i.e. suicide, smoking, liquor). That leaves sex - a delicate subject when it comes to Christmas. Every ad that showed a Christmas morning had Mom tightly snuggled in her bathrobe without a hint of nightgown showing.

Most of the vintage Christmas advertising that's of a risque nature fell into the lingerie & evening wear category. But even then, how can you sell a product using sex appeal that's not overt? If you're the folks at Mojud Stockings, that's a dilemma that you faced at Christmas time.

They chose in 1951 to lay it on the line. To let it all air out (sorta speak):

(Click on image to enlarge)

That's right - "Make It Merry!" I'm guessing they didn't have names for those heels in 1951 like we do in 2008. Come on, "Make It Merry!" Hey look - Santa Claus is there to ease the sexual tension... but how hard is Santa trying not to peek while handing up presents to the snagged lass? Oh yeah... "Make It Merry"!

For those with the discernible Christmas music eye, if this ad looks familiar, it was used as clip art for the booklet of the original "Christmas Cocktails":

(Click on image to enlarge)

Two for the price of one! What do you think?

Ernie says: Now that's the kind of Christmas stocking I can really get behind!

Any other opinions?