Monday, August 31, 2015

Boston Taxi Fare

The taxi industry in Boston--and elsewhere--is very concerned about Uber and the effects of new technology on an old industry. See if you can spot any signs for this from my cab ride.

Note:  There are more photos of Boston on the blog.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Downtown Boston

Boston remains a great town to visit. After arriving by water taxi, we explored the area on foot. These six photos were taken during a walk from Faneuil Hall to the TD Garden.

Faneuil Hall, 1742

Segway tours

Under construction


TD Garden

Harry Weber, The Goal, 2010
The statue commemorates Bobby Orr's game-winning goal for the Bruins in the 1970 Stanley Cup final.

Note:  See my earlier posts about Boston.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Boston Harbor

Four weeks ago, I enjoyed a long weekend in Boston. In the coming days, I'll share a few photographs from the trip.

Thy Hyatt Boston Harbor is a hotel by Logan Airport. It is not especially close to downtown Boston but it does boast spectacular views of the city. The town remains accessible by car or water taxi.

The Hyatt Boston Harbor as seen from a water taxi

Boston Harbor as seen from the room

The view from ground level


Note:  It's more than a feeling. See Boston in these pages.


Friday, August 28, 2015

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #486

Here is my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #486 for August 24, 2015. The drawing is by Julia Suits.

"Save your cute aggression for the enemy."

August 31, 2015 Update:  The Finalists

September 14, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  In last week's contest, cartoonist Danny Shanahan got right to the point. My caption was strictly bull. See the Hemingwayesque outcome of Contest #485.

Not only did Julia Suits sign my copy of The Best of the Rejection Collection, she included a squiggle!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Charles Addams for Avis

Forty years ago, car rental company Avis chose Charles Addams to illustrate an ad in the New Yorker. There is a long tradition of the magazine's cartoonists being hired by the magazine's advertisers. Here Avis faces one of its biggest customers.

Charles Addams, "You tell him we only have a sub-compact left."
Advertisement for Avis
The New Yorker, October 20, 1975, page 25

Note:  If you'd like to see further blog posts about Charles Addams, you've come to the right place.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Charles Addams for Bankers Trust

A 1973 Bankers Trust ad promotes the bank's modern system of retrieving cancelled checks. The bank stores the checks on microfilm and can retrieve any check and provide a photocopy within 48 hours. The cumbersome alternative would be for each individual client company to store many checks on its own premises and thus lose valuable office space. A two-page color illustration by Charles Addams points out the potential shortcomings of such an antiquated business practice.

Charles Addams, After considering alternatives, top management at Saks Fifth Avenue decided that a more efficient method of check retrieval might be in order.
You'll find Check Retention at Bankers Trust
Advertisement for Bankers Trust, 1973
EBay scans by the Ad Store

Note:  Be sure not to miss my earlier blog posts about the incomparable Charles Addams.

There's a fair amount of vintage advertising here as well.


Friday, August 21, 2015

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #485

Here is my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #485, for August 10, 2015.
The pointed drawing is by Danny Shanahan.

"Acupuncturist my ass!"

Here's an earlier try I didn't use:
"I don't know what you see in that picador."

August 24, 2015 Update:  The Finalists

September 7, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  Last week, Liam Francis Walsh brought an eccentric Brit into an American pool hall. My caption must have had the wrong accent. See the very respectable results of Contest #484.

Danny Shanahan's work is strictly no bull.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for May/June 2015

I submitted a total of three entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for May/June 2015. As in the past, the drawing is by Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of the New Yorker.

"I see Congress is in recess again."
"Isn't it time you boys graduated?"
"Let's break for work."

Fortunately, one of these was selected as a finalist:
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Finalists May/June 2015

So here are the latest statistics. My caption has made it to finalist status in ten out of the twelve contests I've entered over these two years. My previous caption did not win the March/April Contest, meaning that I have won only two of the nine completed contests in which I have been a finalist, a winning percentage of 22%, where the law of averages says I should be at 33%. So paradoxically, while I have demonstrated a disarming 83% rate of making it to finalist status, my captions are only two-thirds as likely to be voted the winner as the laws of probability would suggest. Put another way, I write some first-rate second-rate captions.

September 12, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption for May/June 2015

Note:  Let's have a go at it again! Please vote for your favorite caption in the May/June contest until on or about August 24. You'll have to decide what's funniest:  educational theories, husbands, or the U. S. Congress. I'll plead the Fifth.

While you're at it, you yourself can enter the July/August Caption Contest. For the first time, the Moment Caption Contest cartoon is by Benjamin Schwartz. Personally, I don't deal well with this sort of change.

So why the change in cartoonist? Frankly, I don't think Bob Mankoff has been comfortable with the Moment contest since he made that glaring error while inscribing my personal copy of his memoir. These things can take their toll on one's psyche, you know.

Cartoon caption contests have become a major focus of this blog over the past couple of years. Unlike most other people who subject themselves to these contests, I publish copious notes of my caption hits (Moment) and misses (The New Yorker) for all to see. These blog posts in toto make up a cautionary tale for anyone foolish enough to don the mantle of captioneer. Trust me, we should all just leave humor to the professionals.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Charles Addams Book Promotions

EBay paper seller 237 is currently offering a number of original promotions for Charles Addams's books. These volumes, mostly cartoon collections, are all terrific and are well worth hunting down. As you can see, even the vintage ads look great.
Monster Rally, 1950
Image added August 25, 2015

Homebodies, 1954

Nightcrawlers, 1957
Dear Dead Days, 1959

Black Maria, 1960

Black Maria, 1960

Drawn and Quartered, 1962

The Groaning Board, 1964

The Chas Addams Mother Goose, 1967 

The World of Charles Addams was published three years after the cartoonist's death in 1988. This ad comes from another eBay seller.
The World of Charles Addams, 1991

Note:  If you like these ads, my other posts about Charles Addams are sure to delight you.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Charles Addams for American Bank

A 1980 advertising campaign for American Bank and Trust Co. of Pa. has artwork by Charles Addams illustrating just how hard it is to get your banker's attention. Thirty-five years later banking seems to have become even more impersonal.

Charles Addams, Do you ever get that what-do-I-have-to-do-to-get-some-attention-from-my-banker feeling?
Advertisement for American Bank, 1980

Charles Addams, Do you ever get that what-do-I-have-to-do-
to-get-some-attention-from-my-banker feeling?

Advertisement for American Bank

Note:  Who today can fill the shoes of Charles Addams? Check out his work on the blog.

While you're at it, don't miss some of the great advertising art of yore. It's right here at your fingertips.

Yes, they come in all sizes. Don't miss the size gags in Attempted Bloggery's Brobdingnagian archives.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Charles Addams for Christie's

In a 1978 print advertisement for Christie's auction house, cartoonist Charles Addams takes us to the home of a wealthy art collector who has just been murdered. The murder weapon is still visible, but planning for the future is already underway. So how soon is too soon to cash in?

Charles Addams, "Perkins, you call my lawyer, and I'll call Christie's."
Print advertisement for Christie's, 1978

August 16, 2015 Update:  One more:
Charles Addams, "We're on our war to Christie's,
they're auctioning off the family estate in the afternoon."
Print advertisement for Christie's, 1978

Image added August 16, 2015

Note:  The great Charles Addams has inspired many a blog post around these parts.

Some really cool advertising has been collected on this blog as well and most of it has nothing to do with cold-blooded murder. Take a look!


Friday, August 14, 2015

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #484

Here is my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #484 for August 3, 2015. The impeccable drawing is by Liam Francis Walsh.

"Too late. I was just hustled by Mary Poppins."

Now I had thought about repurposing an old Peter Arno caption, but it worked better for Arno:
"It isn't often one sees a bowler these days."

August 17, 2015 Update:  The Finalists

August 31, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption

Note: Last week Carolita Johnson put the Creator on the analyst's couch. Yes, that Creator. My caption proved apocryphal. See the consecrated results of Contest #483.

Liam Francis Walsh has made far less fussy appearances here in previous caption contests. Go ahead, take a look...


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Charles Addams Sits for Bachrach

It must have been around 1983 when celebrated cartoonist Charles Addams sat for a studio portrait at Bachrach. One photograph from the session was used to publicize the studio's work in a black-and-white New Yorker advertisement that appeared in the first issue of 1984. Today a color photograph from this sitting appears in one of Bachrach's online Celebrity Galleries.  Addams is photographed with a piece of artwork depicting his popular Addams Family. On the Bachrach website, the thumbnail of his studio portrait is located between those of Nelson Rockefeller and Julius Erving.

Bachrach, Charles Addams, Cartoonist
The New Yorker, January 2, 1984, page 59

Bachrach, Charles Addams, Cartoonist

The artwork from the photo:
Charles Addams, Chartered Bus
Image added August 15, 2015

Both the artwork and the Bachrach photo were used on the cover of The World of Charles Addams:
The World of Charles Addams, 1991
Image added August 16, 2015

Bachrach Famous Faces
Celebrity Gallery 3
Image added December 29, 2015

Note:  Do you really need a special invitation to seek out more about Charles Addams on this blog? Would you like it engraved?


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Blog Post No. 1600: "The Big Bang Theory's" Homage to Charles Addams

Leonard:  A death ray?
Mary Cooper:  Well, that's what he called it—didn't even slow down the neighbor kids.

It was 2007 and "The Big Bang Theory" was in its fourth episode. The series was already very good but had yet to hit its stride. This unusual snippet of dialogue seems a little out of place. The prodigal Sheldon Cooper invents a death ray if only in name. We know it doesn't work because they tried to use it on children in the neighborhood. A death ray? It goes by so fast I'm sure most viewers scarcely notice. But each time I see it, it nearly knocks me off my chair. With this macabre joke, the writers of "The Big Bang Theory" are certainly paying homage to cartoonist Charles Addams!

Over the years this episode has been viewed millions of times and I'm sure at least a few must have picked up on the reference, but very likely most viewers did not. A cursory search of "the internets" does not show anything about the Addams connection, so I'll make the case for it here. In the video, Sheldon's mother Mary Cooper recollects what Sheldon was like as a child (from 5:29 to 6:11):

Highlights from "The Big Bang Theory" Season 1, Episode 4
"The Luminous Fish Effect"
See 5:29 to 6:11

"A death ray?"

Image added August 10, 2015

Transcription of "The Big Bang Theory" Season 1, Episode 4
"The Luminous Fish Effect"

This death ray is a reference to a classic 1953 cartoon by Charles Addams originally published in the New Yorker. It has since been collected in Homebodies (1954) and elsewhere so it is not by any means unfamiliar to Mr. Addams's fans.
Charles Addams, "Death ray, fiddlesticks! Why, it doesn't even slow them up."
The New Yorker,
May 16, 1953, page 25

Charles Addams, "Death ray, fiddlesticks! Why, it doesn't even slow them up."
The New Yorker,
 May 16, 1953, page 25

Note:  One-thousand six-hundred blog posts! I sure hope you didn't miss any.

The archives have much more about Charles Addams, a favorite cartoonist.

Remember when I had as many Twitter followers as Sheldon Cooper?

Here are about 1% of my blog posts to get you started:
The Attempted Bloggery Centennial Posts
Blog Post No. 100
Blog Post No. 200:  A Shaggy Dog Story