Chess by Lamplight

An illustration for General Electric (love the lamp) by Charles Edward Chambers. Born in Ottumwa, Iowa, in 1883, Chambers was known for his advertising work, especially 45 billboards for Chesterfield cigarettes and a portrait of Mozart for Steinway pianos, and illustrations for books by Pearl S. Buck, Louis Bromfield, Faith Baldwin and W. Somerset Maugham.


I read today in Wired magazine that Velveeta really isn’t cheese; since 2002, it has officially been a pasteurized, prepared cheese product. I’m all for truth in labeling, but I must stand up for Velveeta. How well I remember the foot-long square loaf my mother would produce from the refrigerator, the peeling back of the foil, and then the appearance of the magical slicer, that ingenious combination of a wire strung parallel to a roller from which fell perfectly uniform slices of this most perfect food, excellent in grilled cheese sandwiches, sublime when layered with liverwurst. Almost plastic, truly fantastic.


Thanks to the alarmingly talented and perceptive Shannon Wolfe, I was introduced to a site, Golden Age Comic Book Stories, that overwhelmed with its riches, such as the art of N.C. Wyeth and Frank Schoonover. What a gift.

Spy Smasher

I want to wear this button.

Spy Smasher (whose real name was Alan Armstrong) was a master detective who got around in the “Gyrosub” — a combination airplane, auto and submarine. Created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck, Spy Smasher was introduced in Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940) and adapted into a 12-part film serial for Republic Pictures with Kane Richmond as the title character (an American agent in Nazi-occupied France who was originally believed to have been killed in a plane crash) and his identical twin brother. Cool or what?

Spy Smasher’s Nazi nemesis in the U.S.A. is The Mask, operating from a U-Boat  near the coast, attempting to flood the country with forged money, and destroying planes, oil and munitions bound for Britain. I’ve got one thing to tell you: sea of flaming oil.


“I like kids. They are funny and they eat things and they run around, and then they sleep in very cozy outfits. I am jealous of them.”

Maira Kalman, illustrator, designer, artist, quoted in Metropolis magazine, September 2010

Holy Cow

New York’s ABC Carpet and an artisan in Turkey are “recycling” worn and/or imperfect vintage rugs, by bleaching and recoloring, or even cutting the rugs up and creating new, quilt-like creations like the one above. The Color Reform Collection can be seen at the ABC website, and a short article is in the current (September 2010) issue of Metropolis magazine.

More Tea Parties

“High Tea in the Walled Garden” by William Christian Symons (1845-1911)

“Lilies and Tea” by Morgan Weistling (b. 1964)

“The Tea Set” by Claude Monet (1840-1926)

“Tea” by George Dunlop Leslie (1835-1921)

More images from people who see tea and its culture as worthy of artistic expression and not simply a commodity that heathens toss into a bay, gathered at the Art Renewal Center (ARC), an extraordinary resource that I encourage you to visit.