Category Archives: Dehoarding Project

El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles

Source: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles Visitors Book 1969

Creases from paper clips; rust from paper clips, holes from a hole punch. paper browning, and edges chipping. This statement doesn’t mean these problems exist with this item. See the condition section to see what I found.

This book isn’t bad, considering its age. I expected something steeped in American triumphalism, but it wasn’t quite that. It has numerous photos of Los Angeles in the 1960s. If it doesn’t get sold, I’ll post some photos of the interior sometime.

If you look at the photos on Ebay, you’ll see some interesting views of LA. The back cover shows the area that would eventually be occupied by the LA Convention Center.  There’s also no “skyline.” L.A. has done a lot of construction.

Source: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles Visitors Book 1969


Commercial Art by Gene Byrnes

Source: Commercial Art by Gene Byrnes Figurative Art Illustration Cartoon 1952 Hardcover

This is from 1952 and is a relatively scarce book. This is not ex-library.

Byrnes is unique in art book authors because he was a successful cartoonist and illustrator. Commercial Art’s unusual in that it includes cartooning with the illustration and painting. It’s also unusual because it’s a coffee table book of artists, but also goes into considerable detail about technique. It’s not only illustration technique, but production technique: often, artwork is composed or finished by the printer, not the artist, and this is explained.

It’s exactly the kind of book a cartoonist and working artist would produce.  It’s not only for a general audience, but for other artists.

“Commercial Art” is an unfortunate title, because it should be called “Figurative Illustration, Painting, and Cartooning for Print and Advertising”.  It was produced not too long after the “golden age of illustration”, and advertisements still featured illustrations, and demand for them was high. The radio and television would, however, cut into ad revenues. Though the 1950s, newspapers would decline, until many large cities became two and three newspaper cities.  Today, most are down to one large paper.

Likewise, magazines, which were numerous, would hold their own, but were increasingly more likely to use photographs, as printing improved and could render the tones well.  (Look at old photos in magazines: they look like they’ve been Photoshopped. Photos in newspapers looked blotchy.) By the time of the magazine boom of the late 1980s, propelled by desktop publishing, illustration was far less common. Today, magazines are also in decline.

Today, illustration has increased online. Anyone can take a photo, and all phones have cameras on them, but few people can draw well.


Chacksfield Merit Homes 232nd Vermont East Torrance

Source: Chacksfield Merit Homes 232nd Vermont Torrance Carson Gardena

Ad from the 1960s. Merit was unique in that it produced suburban homes for people of color.

I saw an ad from Don K. Nakajima, a real estate agent, advertising these Merit Homes, advertising them to Japanese Americans reading the Rafu or Kashu Mainichi.

I also came across a development in Carson that was a Black residents. I asked about who had bought there, and it was all Black people. So, while these developments didn’t have restrictive covenants, they did have racial steering creating them. So they didn’t seek to integrate the communities. They created buying opportunities for people of color when the government stopped its redlining practices in the late 1950s.

I imagine that Merit Homes were also advertised in Black papers like the LA Sentinel.

Perhaps there is some irony in that these ads were in papers for specific communities. These were, ultimately, Civil Rights papers, because the communities served were seeking equal rights. The people probably moved from old integrated communities, like “the westside” just around USC, or South Central, or Boyle Heights. They got their suburban opportunity, and ended up segregated, though with an asset that has risen in value.

Bits of History about Magnetic Tape

This is a set of articles and ads about magnetic tape.

First is a futuristic prediction about how we’ll use magnetic tape to run our robots. This item is brittle and will probably not last too long. It should be archived.

Second is an article explaining how to care for reel to reel tape recorders.  Again, brittle.

Third is an ad for the Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter, and early word processor that used magnetic tape as its memory, and was an electromechanical computer.  This is from the 1960s, to put things into perspective.

Fourth is an ad for a cassette recorder that also has a radio.  This was presented mainly as a recorder, but similar devices would be popular in the 1970s and 1980s, and they would be called “boom boxes”.

Source: Lot VTG Articles About Magnetic Tape Reel to Reel Futurism

Can You Make Money Decluttering by Selling Books on Amazon in 2017?

Can Amazon be used to further your efforts to declutter and dehoard your home or office?  Can it be profitable? Will you get rich off your bookcases?

Short answer: probably not. Keep reading to find out other ways to potentially turn your books into cash, or something valuable. Continue reading Can You Make Money Decluttering by Selling Books on Amazon in 2017?

Despite Everything – A Cometbus Omnibus

I waited for this for years, and got it as a gift when it came out. and barely even read it. I’d read most of the zines, and drifted away from it over the years. By the time I heard of this, I was just a different person.

Aaron Cometbus wrote a popular zine wherin he vagabonded around the country doing the “punk tourist” thing, meeting up with penpals, being homeless. A lot of his essays were thinkpieces about the meaning of life, and how to live life.  I think a lot of contemporary vanlife vagabonding has roots in the 1990s DIY punk anarchy culture, which, in turn, has roots in the hippie culture. Cometbus, more than other zines, pulled these threads between the hippies and punks together.

Source: Despite Everything – A Cometbus Omnibus Last Gasp VG First Edition 90s Punk

Lillian Smith and The Paper Editions Book Club, 1955, and people who like books

This catalog almost ended up in the trash, but I couldn’t do it. It was too book-like. It would go into a sale box.

This like, or love, of books saved this midcentury artifact just long enough so that I spent a minute reading an inspiring essay by Lillian Smith, a Southern progressive, and her praise for inexpensive paperback books.  Read it. It’s great!

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What a writer! One part really hit home for me, because I was a paperback reader. I couldn’t afford the hardcovers, and they were so far out of reach, I never even yearned for them. The range of my hope was reduced to fit my narrow reality, until I opened the books.

So, again, I had a similar hope that this slim catalog would find a buyer.  The catalog is for sale on Ebay.

On the first page, read the box underneath the essay. The book club made of Smith’s two important books, Now Is The Time, and Strange Fruit, special bonus picks. That meant that anyone purchasing a book from the catalog could get one of these books for free.

If you haven’t already read the link on her name, above, do it now. Smith was the leading Southern liberal progressive Civil Rights writers, and Strange Fruit, a novel about an interracial romance, was a bestseller that got banned, and the book couldn’t be delivered in the mail. Eleanor Roosevelt had to intervene and tell FDR to cut out the racist nonsense, and allow the book to be delivered by the USPS.

By that intervention, her novel could be in this mail order catalog.

Now Is The Time was a defense of desegregating schools, written in 1955, the year this catalog was published! So, I think it would be a fair guess that the Book Club was liberal or progressive.

If you have many spare dollars, please buy this old catalog and give it a good home. If you do not, you should try to find what sounds like a far more important book: Killers of the Dream, by Lillian Smith. In Killers, Smith deconstructs Southern life and racism and sexism.  She did this in 1949.


The Origin of “Skosh” and How It’s Pronounced

What’s it mean?

It means “a little bit”.

What language is it?


Yes. What’s funny is that this word is supposedly most well known in the midwest, where there aren’t many Japanese people, or at least weren’t for a long time.

It came back to the US with GIs coming back from WW2 and the occupation of Japan.

It’s pronounced one way in English, and  differently in Japanese. There are accents, too. There’s a short “u” after the “s”: .

So, how did this come to be?

I think I may have part of the missing link here:


That’s from Stars and Stripes Pacific, which was given to servicemen in the Japanese occupation.  Mr. and Mrs. Vaccari wrote the short u sound as an apostrophe, probably because Americans tend to lengthen vowels.

They did it in the article on the left as well, using the s’ at the end of words when the sound is “su”.

They didn’t remove the “i” at the end of s’koshi, though.  That’s probably because “i” a the end of words is sometimes a short “ee” sound, and when we want a long “i” sound, we sometimes write “ee”.  In Latin languages, it’s a short “ee” like “broccoli”… or “Vaccari”. There might be a bias there.  In English, an “ee” is long, like “free” or “bee”.

At least that’s what I think I found in the hoard.  These little clippings are for sale, if you want to tell this story in person using the actual newspaper as a prop!

Japan Street Scene 1930s

I found this photo. I can’t really tell when or where it was taken, but I think the guys in the front are holding a sign about Kageyama. I can’t see the last kanji too well.  The two cars on the left might be a Plymouth and an REO Flying Cloud or maybe a Nissan.  So late 1930s is my guess.

Close ups below. Any clues?