Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How the Columbo Dog Head Greeting Cards Came to Be

(This is cross-posted from Columbo Clothes and Laughs

It was around New Years 2024 when Kevin said I needed a hobby besides the pandemic.

I said, "no I do not." 
He said, "yes you do." 

I said "okay, I will paint."

He kindly got an art kit and set up a small easel in a room downstairs. 
Mostly as a way to flip off AI art I started painting with acrylics.
I painted my "pandemic friends." 

I painted some psychedelic stars that have been in my head since 1988.

For a big challenge, I moved onto trying to paint some favorite Columbo scenes. 

The first one turned out okay. 
I thought I could share these paintings in greeting card form with other Columbo fans. 

I ordered 10 cards as a test from the most eco-friendly card maker I could find in the USA, and as they were being made, I painted 11 more of my favorite scenes. 
For example, John Cassavetes playing the Maestro as he's about to be hauled off to jail, shaking Peter Falk playing Columbo's hand:

I looked up whether painting scenes from TV or movies is copyright infringement. 

Sad trombone, yes it is. Fuckers!

I drafted a letter to the heirs of Columbo creators Link and Levinson seeking a license to sell these paintings as cards.
I realized NBC Universal Comcast is the evil overlord who owns the copyrights and having dealt with their overzealous IP lawyers for years who deactivate entirely legitimate (due to the First Sale Doctrine) vintage Etsy listings, I felt that a license would be unattainable/overly onerous, so I pivoted to DOG HEADS.
Putting dog heads on the bodies takes the paintings to the parody/satire level, which resolves any copyright issues. 
So I just photoshopped photos of some dogs I know and love onto the bodies.
My artist friend Jess Pfohl from Jess! Messin' who is Into This Stuff in a big way told me to paint the dog heads for consistency. 
So I painted 22 dog heads to match the characters/vibe of the actors in the paintings.
And that is how we ended up with 12 scenes from 70s Columbo with parody painted dog heads!

Cards available today from skippyhaha Etsy!
Four cards out today, four more next Wednesday March 6th, and the final four cards will be out the following Wednesday March 13th. 


PS - IF YOU WOULD LIKE A CARD WITH PAINTINGS WITH THE HUMAN HEADS, sent via USPS with a forever letter stamp with NO TRACKING, I had a tiny run of those printed - please message or email me

Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Most Orange Conference

I've run the numbers and crunched the data and it turns out the most Orange D1 college athletic conference is...the ACC! Makes sense with the Syracuse Orange as a member school, but I had to be sure.

With 5 schools that have orange in their official colors (Clemson, UVA, VaTech, Miami, and Syracuse) the ACC received 5 hash marks! 

With 2 schools whose colors combine to form orange (Boston College and Florida State), the ACC also received 2 bonus stars. 

The next closest conference was the Southeastern Conference with 3 hash marks for orange teams - Florida, Tennessee and Auburn - and no bonus stars.

My sense that UNC was playing a disproportionate number of orange teams was confirmed! 


Friday, June 23, 2023

Sonar the Funk Robot Band from Boulder/Aquatari

I recently acquired some original band tee shirts (Black Creek Band - Southern rock in the late 80s - 90s from Tallahassee, Florida; and Sonar from Boulder, Colorado via the planet Aquatari, in the early 00s) from friend and band member himself, Jason McDaniel, aka "bass player Commander Colt 44."
For those of us who have been personally deprived of the knowledge and pleasure of seeing the "four shimmering clouds" of Sonar perform live all we are left to do is piece together the psychonautics from old videos and actual articles that were actually published and distributed in actual local newspapers in the early 00s. 
For instance, here is an inter-dimensional gem of an interview from the Steamboat Pilot, October, 2001:

Sonar invades the Wolf Den Tavern

Kelly Silva
They wear alienesque masks on stage and claim their sound is something like an old-school funk like a New Orleans-style blend of blues and jazz.
They are Sonar five vibrations that slipped into five male human bodies and began playing music and Atari to communicate with their home planet Aquatari.
Members of Sonar have names such as Captain Star 69, Commodore 64, Commander Colt 44, Doctor NC 17 and Admiral RX-7. They also produce waves of audio energy from instruments such as impact-induced vibration cylinders, an organi-magnetallic resonating chamber, a low-frequency modulator and multi-chromatic variable wave inverters and don’t forget the Atari 2600 Game Machine.
Their story may seem odd to the humans on Earth, but it won’t be long before they head out of Colorado and into California to tour and keep communication with Aquatari.
“We do a lot of off-the-wall songs; we do spoofs on songs,” Captain Star 69 said. “We really are from another planet.”
The story begins when the vibrations lived on Aquatari under the rule of the super-fine sea goddess.
“We were just vibrations without bodies and we played a sort of music there,” Captain Star 69 said.
Sea goddess Shanaqua controlled Aquatari, but when Manta tried to overthrow the planet, the vibrations with musical talent were sent through a porthole. The members leapt out of the Boulder Reservoir and stumbled upon some men changing a tire on the side of the road.
After the vibrations snuck into the human bodies, they found musical instruments and 8-track tapes in the van.
In order for members of Sonar to communicate with Aquatari, they must play music and Atari. Sonar has decided to give Earthlings a glimpse into what they’re really all about.
“For the time being, we’re just linking up with our home planet,” Captain Star 69 said. “People either love us or hate us. That’s a great thing.”


This is something that was published. "We really are from another planet." 

Here's one more supernaturally glowing profile from the Deseret (Salt Lake City, Utah) News from December 2001 - this gives a little more depth and detail.

Band Sonar is out of this world

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Introducing: Columbo Clothes and Laughs Blog!

 I have found a new hobby and it is Columbo. 

To support this obsession, I have started a new blog: Columbo Clothes and Laughs
There we will discuss the vintage fashion and humor of the Columbo television show.

For episodes where there are more than three excellent outfits, there will be a poll for everyone to pick their favorite. 

New posts every Wednesday, just as the original episodes aired!

 Thank you very much, Lieutenant!


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Keeping it fresh, 20 years on

It's bugged me for the last decade once I realized after the Vintage Vantage website went dark that half the photos and all the links in my RIP Vintage Vantage post also went dead and blank. 

In honor of the 20 year anniversary of when I joined VV, I went through and fixed all the photos and links and now it's back fresh and functional as the day the post was born in July 2010! Thank you, Wayback Machine

Without further ado: RIP Vintage Vantage (2001 - 2010) now with working links and photos!

Friday, January 06, 2023

Behind the T-shirt: Coke Adds Life to Super Tennis Week

(via Indianapolis Recorder) - Tucson Arizona, July 1, 1978 -

This balmy, scenic, southwestern city went Hollywood when luminaries of the film and sportsworlds converged on the desert for the fourth annual Celebrity Invitational Tennis Classic sponsored by American Airlines and Jet Newsweekly magazine last month. 

The two-day event at the Racquet Club Ranch was part of the “Super Tennis Week" here, for the benefit of the United Negro College Fund. The results were thousands of dollars for UNCF’s 41 member schools. 


A glimpse at celebrities from fans filled the excitement shared by participants of the event. Former Cleveland Brown “romper" and now star actor/producer Jim Brown bested Earl (the Pearl) Monroe of the New York Knicks, to capture the men’s single title. Brown tasted defeat, however, when he challenged any “woman tennis player in the audience.” Amateur Andrea Whitmore*, a 23-year-old Los Angeles resident, accepted, and downed Brown 5-3. 


The women’s singles trophy was won by actress Myra Waters, who defeated Jeanie Bell. Defending champion Gail Fisher, picked up an award for winning the most games in the “women’s celebrity division." Gladys Knight of the Pips, and Floyd Caldwell, a marketing executive with Kodak-one of the tournament sponsors--took the mixed doubles championships. Gladys’ husband, Barry Hankerson, and her brother. Bubba Knight, claimed the men’s doubles event.



*True crime aficionados may recognize the name Andrea Whitmore (Buchanan), the volunteer who trounced Jim Brown. She was murdered 3 years after Super Tennis Week. Per wikipedia:

Born in Los Angeles, Andrea Buchanan went to Dorsey High School and turned professional in 1978. She was one of only several African American players competing on tour. Her best grand slam performances came at the 1981 Wimbledon Championships, where she beat Barbara Hallquist before falling in the third round to second-seed Hana Mandlíková. In what would be her last grand slam appearance she won a first round match against Eva Pfaff at 1981 US Open.

On the morning of January 28, 1982, Buchanan was found mortally wounded on the floor of a Los Angeles fish market, where she was working part time as a cashier. She was rushed to Brotman Memorial Hospital in Culver City with multiple bullet wounds to her upper body, but never regained consciousness. Her boss, 57-year old Nathanial Brown, was pronounced dead at the scene. The case remains unsolved. Police ruled out robbery as a motive and believe that, unknown to Buchanan, Brown had been involved with dealing illicit substances.

 RIP Andrea Whitmore Buchanan.

Check out the 70s Coke Adds Life to Super Tennis Week t-shirt at Skippy Haha Vintage Etsy!  

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Flops and the Halloween Meatballs


What do you do when it's 7:30 on Halloween night and there's a line of hundreds of kids in costumes at the door and you've run out of candy?

If you're my grandfather, Dick Tramonti, circa 1963, in a neighborhood full of trick-or-treating kids in Rhode Island, you take a small meatball that you've made for dinner, wrap it in a napkin, and put it inside a kid's candy bag while surreptitiously grabbing a handful of the kid's candy from their bag to give away to the next few kids. 

Once you've run out of stolen candy, you simply put another meatball in a child's candy bag and steal some more candy out for the next trick-or-treaters.

My mom estimates at least 12 kids went home with meatballs in napkins that Halloween.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Emily "Drezza" Tramonti


Emily "Drezza" Tramonti - May 20, 1928 - August 21, 2022
Flops & Drez on a train in New Hampshire, 1983

I spent most of the summer of 1985 living with Flops and Drezza, the summer after we moved to NY, I wanted to be back in Rhode Island and they welcomed me to stay at Vancouver Ave.

Freezing in Disney World, 1985
For a few weeks I was Drezza's sidekick - went with her to do errands at Almacs, Daves, Silvermans, for milkshakes and grilled cheese at Newport Creamery, and to work - at Warwick Prescription Center, the small local pharmacy she worked at for decades. I was 9, and she trusted me enough to let me count actual pills for actual prescriptions. I typed the labels on a real manual typewriter and put the warning stickers on. I tried my absolute hardest to get everything right and I think I did. I would charge her something like $3 a day for this work - kept track on an envelope - and she paid me. What a racket. 

Playing along with our house being an "inn"

Then she would take me to Thorpe's and I bought paperback books, Born Free about the lioness. I'd play rummy and watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune with Flops and later after he went to bed watch Murder She Wrote with Drez. 

Flops & Drez watching Chris play basketball at Whitman

It was around this time but during the winter, holidays, Thanksgiving probably when Drez fell out of her chair laughing at my impression of Flops' cousin Mary and Uncle John. I will never forget it, she was laughing so hard she took a knee and slapped the carpet in front of the puffy floral fabric covered chair in the corner of her living room surrounded by Hummels. (Mary- "Uncle Dick you are such a tease. If we look in the dictionary next to the word 'tease' would be a picture of Uncle Dick" and Uncle John walked into a chair and said "excuse me" to it. You had to be there.) 

With Uncle Tom at Lenny's in CT

She would make a whole Thanksgiving dinner for 10 and then bake a special pie for me - chocolate pudding in a flaky crust with whipped cream on top just for me. I would share but it was for me. 

Reading with Henry

I told her I liked getting mail and when I went to UNC freshman year she sent me hundreds of cards, I mean one almost every day, hallmark cards and notes and Readers Digest clippings, I still have them all in a box. 

Listening to Jojo at Angela's shower

She didn't like to talk a lot, she didn't like to eat a lot, she liked to read a lot and rearranged furniture a lot. 

Trying on shoes at TOPS Asheville, age 85

After the Prescription Center sold, Drezza worked at Country Curtains until she was 90, when she finally retired. As Chris said as a little kid, "Drezza is bossy in a quiet kind of way." I never heard her raise her voice. 
With mom & Aunt Jan

She liked chocolate covered raisins and lemon cookies. She was loyal and gentle and responsible, she put her family first. She liked mysteries. She never had her ears pierced, always wore clip ons. She liked things being neat and tidy. She liked having high quality things and taking impeccable care of them. She liked castles and historical estates and inns and flowers. Her hair was puffy blonde perfection, she was five foot one, five foot three with her hair. Her clothes were neat as a pin. Always. She drank a cup of Lipton black tea every day with whole milk and real sugar. 
She hated cats and birds.

With mom and dad on Mount Mitchell

She was the best grandma, the best Drezza. I am so lucky.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Chapel Hill Leather Shop - The Only Real Thing Left T-shirt

David Honigmann owned and operated the Chapel Hill Leather Shop from 1964-1984. Located at 133 ½ East Franklin Street, his shop was always packed with customers wanting to buy his custom-made sandals and hand-made leather goods. 




 In the autumn of 1964, David and friend Betty Bishop began exploring Franklin Street for a storefront, so they could open up their own leather goods shop. They found a place upstairs at 133 1/2 East Franklin Street, which rented for only $35 a month, and they named it the Chapel Hill Leather Shop. 




 It was just one, big room, owned by Alexander Julian’s father, Maurice Julian. Word spread of David’s excellent craftsmanship, and the shop became very successful, very quickly. They were so popular, in fact, that advertising was never necessary. They just had a sign out front that read the Chapel Hill Leather Shop with a pair of sandals nailed to it, and another sign outside the entrance to the store, and that was enough to keep them in business. 




 By 1984 the added recession was making it even more difficult to keep the shop going and after twenty years in the leather business, they felt it was time to move on. (Via Chapel Hill Recorder)

Relive the memories from the Only Real Thing Left with this 70s t-shirt - vintage 70s tee CHAPEL HILL leather shop t-shirt Small soft thin burnout


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

WTF Wednesday - Jim Boeheim Picks Nose and Licks Finger on TV

When I make a video that gets 3,500 views in a day, I guess I should post it here, too -




Here we see Syracuse men's Basketball coach Jim Boeheim picking his nose and immediately licking his finger. 


His use of a mask in a pandemic leaves much to be desired as well. Terrible example for the 20 young men he leads.  


All I can say, as I said in the video, is WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Behind the T-shirt: Uncle Sam's Nightclub

 Uncle Sam's was a disco nightclub chain in several US cities from the mid 70s to the late 80s. 


There were clubs in Houston, Detroit, Providence, Levittown, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Des Moines, and Syracuse. At least. There were probably more. 


Uncle Sam's - "Let's Spend the Night Together"

Shiny Happy Customers Night in Buffalo looks like fun.

Shot of the Minneapolis merch table in 1977. T-shirts cost $3.99!

This 70s Uncle Sam's t-shirt seems to be from 1976. It's in great shape and ready to do the hustle. Check it out at Skippy Haha Vintage Etsy now!

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Behind the T-shirt - Amigos Say Olé Elway!


When I saw this t-shirt graphic, I thought Amigos was a Mexican restaurant/bar in Denver celebrating some big wins by Elway in 1980, 1982, and 1984 with endless nachos.


I was way off. 

The 3 Amigos were Elway's wide receivers, and those were their jersey numbers.


According to the Mile High Report: "For about two years starting in 1987, there was John Elway and then there were the Three Amigos - Vance Johnson (82), Mark Jackson (80), and Ricky Nattiel (84). They were larger than life for that short period of time and it was a fun ride." 

No confirmation on whether they all fit under the same sombrero.  

Check out the Amigos Say Olé Elway! t-shirt on SHV Etsy.