Last day of the Hiatus! Hurrah! You know what that means next two weeks of interminable travel writing?

Yes, but not in the quantity usually provided. I’m trying to do something different this year. Believe me, it was different. It was not, however, the place above.

Where do you think the banner above was shot? At the Shoe Coon.



Not the wisest pronunciation guide.

It's a travel brochure from the age when exotic travel was becoming much easier for the middle-class. No longer need you worry about long voyages to quesionable ports; now a modern jet airplane would take you to the thrilling, exotic places.

Like Haiti!



Over the years these travel brochures assume the smell of the rooms and public spaces - that faint mildewed scent some travelers regard with affection.

If you didn't smell it then, it might have been masked by all the SMOKE:



You know, I'm not sure I'd ever want to doze in a hotel lobby anywhere. It wouldn't be a good sleep and other people would feel slightly bad if they woke you up. Even though they had every right to speak at a normal volume.

Radio . . . or air-conditining unit?



Let's go to the bad, which is decorated in the modern mode - filtered through VOODOO!



A rather broad assertion, but what the hey, let 'em say it:


I wonder how many companies flew everyone from the home office down to Port-au-Prince for a convention:

Can I isolate and reorient that mural? Sure:


It's still there, although Street View doesn't show the neighborhood. There's a park across the street.


Toronto Star:

Haiti was a tourist hot spot, a rum-soaked island getaway for romantics and sun-seekers, when lovers swam naked at Kyona Beach and dined at La Picardie in Port-au-Prince, as Brando and Nguyen did. 

The journalist and author Bernard Diederich added those details in his book 1959: The Year that Inflamed the Caribbean. The arrival of Cuba’s Castro had caused the U.S. administration to look more favourably upon the murderous little man leading Haiti who conjured the voodoo gods sitting in his bath wearing a black top hat: Papa Doc Duvalier, that bulwark against Communism, as the rationalizing Americans saw it. Thus began a time, Diederich wrote, “of collective denial and frozen expressions . . . as if Medusa had magically turned us all, foreigners and Haitians alike, into stone.

Still we stare.

Well, you might. I’m less interested.








Since Friday is usually devoted to old radio, here's . . . some old radio. But this is different. WCOL airchecks. I have no idea where I found them; a friend gave me some files many years ago, salvaged from reel-to-reels.




The ancient association between skiing and the Moog Synth is finally revealed:





Yes. Yes, they advertised this. On the radio.

"Grace the screen."





There's something rushed and nervous about his suggestion that your jewelry might be an investment.





Now it's December. Hats and horns for two dollars? Let's hit the Peppermint Tiger!


Now let's go back a decade and preview something an upcoming feature in 2018. Bad singles. Lousy 60s songs.




I think they may have listened to a little Beatles, and reached all the wrong conclusions.


So much crap sounded like this - overproduced, psychodelic, pretentious, ironic use of honorifics as a callback to the old culture they were mocking with insoucient smiles they thought their elders didn't see.

The quantity of bad pop in the sixties is much, much bigger than I ever imagined. The decade produced more bad music than any other decade before or since, and next year we're going to prove it.


Monday: the return with tales of . . . a place to which I've never been.

A place that is not a place at all. Thanks for enduring these Hiatal Times.





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