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Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Could Pee on This

Don’t shout at me: it’s the title of a book! More specifically, I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats, by Franceso Marciuliano. Make a note: you may want to give copies to cat-loving friends as gifts!  

While it’s not great literature, this little book is full of charm, from Marciuliano’s humor to some great cat photos to the poems themselves. Of the poems the author says in his introduction, “…by the time you ‘ve finished reading this poetry anthology, you’ll not only completely understand everything your cat thinks and does but even applaud him for it. Maybe give him a medal. Or throw him a parade in your hallway, making sure to avoid staircases so all the tiny floats don’t tumble down. Or you can just sit your cat down, look him straight in the eyes and say, “I get it. I really do get it…..furry face.” 

You see, it’s all about catitude. The title poem says it all: 

                                             I COULD PEE ON THIS
                              Her new sweater doesn’t smell of me
                              I could pee on that
                              She’s gone out for the day and
                                    left her laptop on the counter
                              I could pee on that
                              Her new boyfriend just pushed
                                    my head away
                              I could pee on him
                              She’s ignoring me ignoring her
                              I could pee everywhere
                              She’s making up for it
                                   by putting me on her lap
                              I could pee on this
                              I could pee on this 

Notice that the cat only contemplates the threat, but that the threat is preeminent cat philosophy.  

Our cat, Fiona, approves this message. You can see her fur alongside the book photo, where she insisted on pressing herself against the scanner to watch the light move (next best thing to watching the printer, which is second only to watching the DVD changer slide in and out on the TV – her favorite pastime). 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Collecting Interests Change With the Times

Recently I have had several discussions with various antiques, ephemera, and book dealers about changes in collecting interests. Antiques dealers cite the loss of interest in Victoriana, carnival glass, pressed glass, china, and many of the 1970s-80s “collectibles” that were issued for “collectors.” Booksellers note flagging interest in Western Americana, reference books that have been digitized online, and a slump in the collectible children’s books market. The last generation’s nostalgia moves along with the generations. It’s a constant trend, and a sharp seller will not only note what is coming on, but will try to see what will be sought after in future. 

As a dealer in ephemera – including  postcards  -- I have, over the years, seen many changes in collecting interests involving  these little pasteboard artifacts. 40 years ago there was an earnest group of collectors seeking Pioneers (the earliest postal cards), “Gruss  Aus” (greetings from) as well as late 19th and early 20th Century artist-signed illustrated cards and cards on specific topics and holidays. Christmas, New Year, and scarcer holiday cards such as July 4th, President birthdays, Labor Day,  Groundhog Day, and Halloween were popular. In the 1940s, linen cards appeared and until the 1980s or so these were pretty much despised. The 1950s saw chrome (color cards with shiny surfaces) replace linen, and these are still mostly shunned.

There was little interest, coming into the 1970s era, in Easter or Thanksgiving cards although some of the best-collected illustrators designed many of them.  I had a personal interest in cards depicting poultry, and I bought a considerable number of Easter and Thanksgiving cards during the time when they were sold for 25 cents, or five for a dollar, or some few special ones were even a dollar or so. I favored cards with chickens and other barnyard fowl, which led to rabbits and hares and other offshoots, such as anthropomorphic versions of the same subjects – animals dressed in human clothing, playing human games, driving vehicles such as autos and trains. Another sidebar was animals pulling carts. (These were for my personal collection, which I still retain.) Beware that collecting postcards can lead to expanded interests!