Month: September 2010

Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 13: Bean there, done that

This is Day 13 of a 21-day series. More scoop on the who/what/why here.

photo of the author sporting a grin and an Elsa Peretti bean necklace

the author & her booty, 1978 (shit-eating grin not included)

I was always a precocious child in ways that would annoy a grownup, but keep me from getting into any serious kind of trouble.

Loved Dover sole almondine, for example, but never developed a taste for setting things on fire. Cultivated a girlhood crush on Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde but remained a virgin until the embarrassingly late age of 19. (Saddest of all? Not for want of trying to GIVE the damned thing away.)

Those sorts of things.

From eighth grade through high school, which I attended at the height of the sexay ‘seventies (1974 – ’79), I became obsessed with Elsa Peretti. Obsessed! I’d cut out pictures of Tiffany ads for her stuff, devour any article about her that came my way (this was pre-Internet, remember) and drool at the tiny windows of Tiffany’s on Michigan Avenue. Anytime I made lists of stuff I wanted, things like “Elsa Peretti pendant” or “Elsa Peretti coke spoon” inevitably ended up there alongside “unstructured linen jacket with sleeves I can push up,” “alligator shirt,” and “car.” (Kidding, I did not do coke until shortly after I lost my virginity. I mean, never.)

elsa peretti sterling bean pendant for tiffany & co

the bean and its bona fides (click to embiggen)

At some point between 8th-grade graduation and my 16th birthday, my mom gave me the Elsa Peretti bean necklace I’d been long coveting. I wore it pretty much every day for the next five years, the above is a shot of me in either the Senior Lounge or the cafeteria of Evanston Township High School in 1978. (The shit-eating grin is courtesy of having had my braces removed, FINALLY, after 2+ years of suffering. And I do not exaggerate: my dentists now have all confirmed that the principle reason for my ridonkulous rate of gum recession was the way-too-aggressive moving of my toofs in my ‘teens.)

I still like the pendant, but I like the idea of passing it along to the next happy owner even more. Is it you, perhaps? Someone you know? Email the ‘tater: miz.tater AT gmail DOT com.


Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 12: Stupid jump rope

This is Day 12 of a 21-day series. More scoop on the who/what/why here.

I know, I know, you’re thinking, “She’s selling a stupid jump rope? Double-u Tee Eff?”

But I’m not selling a stupid jump rope; I’m selling a piece of history. The Maginot Line of my fight against advancing old age.

NOW are you interested? Email the ‘tater: miz.tater AT gmail DOT com.


*No, this does not make you the German Army. Are you “Advancing Old Age”? No. You see?

Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 11: Snotty ladies, part two

This is Day 11 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.

a gold-tipped ebony cane

they don't make 'em like they used to

The cane above, tipped in real gold at the business end, ivory street-side, and ebony in between, was mine in the game of Snotty Ladies, because it was the finest, and I was the originatrix of the game. Droit de mademoiselle, or something like that.

small child stabbing stack of pancakes with a knife as grandparent and sister look on

You think *I'm* a drama queen?

My sister, who used to play Snotty Ladies with Chicago Jan and me, pointed out that the Naked Lady “cane” which I put on the block yesterday (in “quotes,” because it is actually a swagger stick) used to be hers.

This is true, but only in the latter days of playing. Because as she full well knows, when she first asked to play Snotty Ladies with us, she was only allowed to play as the maid. And as everyone knows, maids don’t get to wield canes, short or no.

The story about her shift from downstairs to upstairs is brief but hilarious, ergo worth sharing:

YOUNGER SISTER: (running to paternal grandfather) Boohoohoohoohoo!

GRAMPS: (alarmed) Honey! What’s wrong?

YOUNGER SISTER: I don’t want to be the maid; I WANT TO BE A SNOTTY LADY.*


As I recall, the game did not last long after that. High society is just no fun without an underclass to oppress.

Fortunately, my sister and I made up. I mean, really fortunately, since I’d probably be dead if she hadn’t tricked me into going to the emergency room eight years ago.

Ah, memories.

OKAY. Enough of that crap. You want to own a piece of Wainwright-Weinrott history? Make with the offers, peoples, before it goes up on eBay: email the ‘tater (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) right now. Operators standing by!


*Trivia: For some reason, this has always reminded me of the last line Alice Kramden delivers to her husband, Ralph, in the episode where she talks him into buying them a television set: I wanna look at Liberace! Weird, huh? (Enh. You don’t know the half of it. If I could sell tickets for a ride in my brain, I’d be a bazillionaire. Or incarcerated in a mental ward.)

Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 10: Snotty ladies, part one

This is Day 10 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.

naked lady on a stick!

Once upon a time, on the shores of a great lake in the center-right of a large country, there lived a tiny Jewish-Catholic principessa.

The only grandchild of two doting grandparents who had waited far, far too long for her arrival, she was indulged in myriad ways with all sorts of riches. They dreamed up delectable treats to tempt her finicky tastes. They amused her with small gifts and family trinkets, each of which came with its own set of stories, told and told again, to the tiny princess’ delight. They regaled her with tales of their glamorous past from days gone by. They took her on outings to ride wild pandas and shop for charming dresses and books. They indulged her budding interest in the intersection of art and commerce.

But her favorite pastime of all was a game the grandfather dreamt up in a particularly inspired fit of genius, called “Snotty Ladies.”

In this game, the princess and her handmaiden would dress themselves in the grandmother’s finery, and be served high tea by the grandmother and grandfather, whom they called “Maid!” and “Butler!,” respectively (and repeatedly, to the delight of all parties concerned.) The outfits were made particularly fine by the addition of specially chosen accessories from the grandfather’s prized collection of rare walking sticks, the choicest of which were the gold-tipped ebony stick (see tomorrow’s entry) and the “naked lady cane,” which was actually not a cane at all, but a swagger stick, a short stick meant to be carried under the arm while reviewing the troops.

the author demonstrates the proper way to hold a swagger stick

the author, in fine swagger

The game of Snotty Ladies now lives on, strangely enough, in the very empowering tradition of the Women’s Business Socials, a ladies-only networking group founded by Ms. Jodi Womack of Ojai, California. Over a year ago, in early 2009, Ms. Womack approached the author looking for a clever tagline to accompany the stylized drawing of an haute, remote looking lady advertising the very first Women’s Social; yours truly told her the story of the principessa’s girlhood game, and suggested the line, “Snotty Ladies Not Allowed.” Eventually, around the time that the chic Ojai Valley Inn & Spa created the namesake WBS drink, the line morphed to “Snooty Ladies,” as everyone allowed that snot and drinks do not mix particularly well, but the fusion had happened.

a swagger stick with a naked lady on the handly

stick! (click to embiggen)

Now, it’s time to release the stick into the wild, and let our Naked Lady find her next adventure. Will you lead her there? Email the ‘tater (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) and let’s work this out, shall we?


Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 9: Elbow-Deep in Luxury

This is Day 9 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here. For more detail on the whole, freaky globe-fixation thing, go here.

the author's grandparents on Atlantic City boardwalk, ca. 1928 (?)

My incredibly swank Gramps & Gram

Once upon a time, a very glamorous girl from Jewish Insurance Money in Des Moines, Iowa met the scrappy son of a Russian-born dry-goods salesman from Moline, Illinois. She was sweet and beautiful, he was determined and wily and, after spending four-ish on-and-off years together at the University of Illinois, they ran off to a Justice of the Peace, got hitched, and lived happily (on-and-off) ever after.

Two of Gramps’ chief virtues (or failings, depending on whom you asked, and when) were his intrepid zest for adventure and his fearlessness in the face of bankruptcy. It became a thing with them: he would finagle his way into some cushy gig doing something exotic for the time (radio plays! advertising! the OSS!), do the sh*t out of it, and then, when it or his patience had run out, pull everything out of the bank save $200 and book passage to some far-flung somewhere. And in style, baby, no steerage for Les and his baby, Betty.

This drove my dear, sweet, non-adventurous, and, of the two of them, frugal, Gram nuts, but she was pretty nuts about him, and a product of their era, so she generally went along quietly. On these trips they bought all kinds of crazy stuff, for themselves and as gifts for loved ones; back then, you had to actually go places to acquire indigenous goods, or the best selection, anyway. While they traveled through the Panama Canal, up to Alaska, all over the U.S., they were especially partial to Europe.

Did you know they make excellent ladies’ gloves in the fine countries of Europe? Well, they do. Did. Probably still do, but no one wears gloves anymore like they wore gloves back then. Possibly because they transformed my not-particularly-comely hands into something of grace and style, I developed a massive glove fetish, and ended up with most of my Gram’s extensive collection.

a group in halloween costume, ca. 1993

Yours truly or Holly Golightly herself?

I am down to the last few pairs, having worn out or lost or given away most of the rest over the years. These are dark-brown and opera length, my ‘tater will get you a measurement, if you like, and are either a 7 1/4 or 7 1/2. They’ve stretched a bit, and been worn, if not extensively, then with ardor. Yes, ironically, but I came up at the end of the last century, not the beginning, and, save a few wack-a-doo periods in my late teens and early 20s, never really took dressing all that seriously. (I mean, seriously, I was, what? 47 before I finally figured out what silhouette was flattering?)

My 1993 stint as Holly Golightly was pretty much my last hurrah with the gloves, or even in costume. Once I started acting in earnest, playing dressup was a busman’s holiday. So these have been in the drawer for some time, and it’s high time some stylish, fun-loving, size 7 1/4 – 1/2-handed gal took ownership of these puppies.

Will it be you? I hope so…


Do you love gloves, too? Email the ‘tater (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) and make an offer. We will certainly let these go for a reasonable sum, maybe less, if there’s a great story attached. We do love a great story!

Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 8: Critters from my checkered past

This is Day 8 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.

cel of cartoon cat and mouse drawn and signed by Chuck Jones

Oh, yes. There's a story behind this.

It’s not that I’ve led a particularly accomplished life, or a notable one, or even a weird one. But I have paid some attention to the bizarre way in which my life seems to loop back on itself, how I’ll do a thing or be in a place, not really thinking a thing of it, and let it go completely (startlingly easy to do with a crappy memory and short attention span), only to find myself somehow enmeshed in it again.

Take Michael Jordan, for example.

As I explained earlier, back in the early 1990s, I wrote a series of commercials that Michael Jordan starred in, not during the four years I wrote Gatorade ads, which Michael Jordan ultimately also became a spokesperson for, but after being randomly assigned to a Wheaties clusterfuck at an agency I was freelancing at in Chicago to help finance the life The Chief Atheist and I were trying to carve out for ourselves in Los Angeles.1

We’d moved to Los Angeles mostly on hope, but with one job: mine, co-writing a kind of nifty children’s show teaching kids about the arts in a fun, engaging way.2 I’d gotten through my friend, George, who sold ABC on the pilot based on the bang-up job he’d done with Bugs Bunny on Broadway, a gig which had brought him into close proximity and friendship with Chuck Jones, one of the key animators of Bugs Bunny and friends, and the subject of a rather fawning documentary for which The Chief Atheist and I wrote lyrics to a heartfelt but saccharine anthem. (Stay with me, please.)

The pilot was wonderful, so of course, they killed it dead, and, job and money run out, I began flying back and forth to Chicago, doing the ad gigs in between classes at The Groundlings. One of the perks of being a Groundling is that you end up automagically shortlisted to audition for all kinds of gigs: I booked my first two tiny TV roles this way, as well as a voiceover gig playing an animated character in Space Jam, the new combo animated/live-action offering from Warner Bros. starring, you guessed it, Bugs Bunny & friends, as well as basketball legend Michael Jordan.3

You see? Random, random and weird.

The cel pictured here is signed (by Chuck Jones) and numbered. In other words, it’s not a super-valuable old cel from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but it is a bona-fide Chuck Jones cel, even if it features characters that were never actually made into cartoons for public consumption. Much like the Wheaties shoot, certain key players from the Chuck Jones biopic/lovefest were gifted with them after the show wrapped.

As nice as it has been, owning a piece of minor cartoon history, I’m just not a cartoon kinda gal, at least, not when it comes to hanging art on the wall. (The Chief Atheist and I did get a really nice cel from a Beavis and Butthead cartoon for our wedding, but he retained possession after the divorce.)

Are you a fan of Chuck Jones? Or is someone you know? This charming piece of history can be yours for a very modest price.

And we’ll throw in all the random, intertwined weirdness, no charge!


Interested? Contact my ‘tater (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) ASAP, this baby goes up on eBay in five days!

1Side note of random weirdness, #1:During one of our frequent post-editing cocktail sessions, the freelance producer and I figured out that shortly after I moved out of our house in Evanston to go to college, he became the tenant in our coach house out back.

2Side note of random weirdness, #2: little Brandi Norwood, who would go on to become Brandi, was one of the stars, in one of her first gigs.

3Side note of random weirdness, #3: While I barely introduced to him during my audition and was directed in all of my VO work by producer Ivan Reitman (who is totally nice and awesome), this means I did technically work on a Joe Pytka film. This is after working on a Joe Pytka commercial for Gatorade (without Michael Jordan) as a writer, during which I never met him, because I didn’t travel to L.A. for the shoot, and before working on two Joe Pytka commercials (for IBM and Sony), where I did finally meet him, and during which he was every bit as terrifying as he was purported to be, but only ever gracious with me. Thank GOD, because I am a delicate f*cking flower.

Selling My Crap on eBay, Day 7: Globes! Globes! Globes! (black edition)

This is Day 7 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here. For more detail on the whole, freaky globe-fixation thing, go here.

vintage black globe with chrome Deco airplane base


In terms of value, this is hands-down the crème de la crème of the globe collection I’m currently selling off.

CU deco chrome base on black globe

Fly me to various parts of the Former Soviet Republiiiic...

Black globes are rarer than their blueish counterparts, and this one sports an even-rarer Art Deco chrome base in the (rarer still) shape of an airplane. Alas, the globe itself has sustained some damage over the years; the chrome is pitted in places, and parts of the glossy surface are cracked and peeling, no doubt the fault of the careless owner, who is a shameful and constant reminder to herself that she is why she cannot have nice things.

Well, that, and she lives in Earthquake Countryâ„¢.

Come on, though. You know you want it! Make the ‘tater an offer! She is highly motivated, as she only has so many cubbies in her attractive built-in unit (not a metaphor!) and is a big reader and collector of other stuff.

And me? I would like to be 12″ and one chrome airplane lighter, with a little gas money to get me to wherever I’m headed next.


No, seriously. You WANT THIS GLOBE. Email the ‘tater (miz.tater AT gmail DOT com) right now! Operators are standing by!