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Remembering Hines Farm, a legendary African-American mecca for the blues
01:11 pm



From the late 1930s until the early 1970s, a sprawling 32-acre spread in northeast Ohio known as Hines Farm, with its own open-air juke joint and enclosed night club, regularly attracted thousands of African-Americans with its ass-kicking blues parties. Hines Farm must have been a really special place, an oasis of incredible blues music, southern food, and (by the way) racial tolerance. It offered good times for all, with a roster of entertainments you wouldn’t find in New York City quite so quickly: roller skating, amusement park rides, exhibition baseball games, horse races, hobo car races, motorcycle races, squirrel hunts…. the list goes on and on.

Some of the biggest names in blues played there—B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, and John Lee Hooker, as well as jazz figures like Louis Jordan and Count Basie. Basie and his full orchestra were hired to play the grand opening of an outdoor pavilion in 1961. The pavilion doubled as a roller rink and a dance floor and could accommodate 1,500 people. People would come from miles around, from as far as Detroit or Cleveland, for the rollicking fun on summer weekends.

When B.B. King thinks of Hines Farm, he recalls the “good food, good music, and pretty girls. It was the only place that was happening.” John Lee Hooker called Hines Farm “a one and only place—wasn’t no other place like that I have been to that was like Hines Farm.” Hines Farm’s identity as an informal place for African-Americans to unwind, relax, and enjoy life started in the basement of Frank and Sarah Hines in the 1930s. By the late 1940s they had the first liquor license held by an African-American in northwest Ohio, and by 1957 they constructed an actual blues club.

Blind Bobby Smith, a Toledo blues guitarist who did session work for Stax Records, used to play in their basement in the early days. According to Smith, “After they’d close down outdoors we’d all pile in the basement. In the wintertime [Frank Hines] just ran it out of the house. It was, you know, everybody talkin’ at the same time ... passing the bottle around, and Hines wishin’ everybody’d get out of there so he could go to bed.”

Sarah and Frank Hines
For African-American men, Hines Farm was a place for sex, a place to dance and meet women. A neighbor recalled wistfully, “Man, it was good to go back there in the woods. See, I never took my car. I’d just walk back there and have me a cold beer and watch ‘em dance. See, that place back there, they used to dance. Chicks would come out of Toledo. Some of them ol’ gals was good lookin’. I’d sit there and drink beer and watch ‘em from mid-afternoon. Hell, I wouldn’t leave ‘til dark ... watchin’ them chicks shake it up.”

According to Big Jack Reynolds, one of the regular performers in the club’s early days, Mexicans and whites were perfectly welcome as well: “There was no discrimination there.” As Marlene Harris-Taylor, who has co-produced a documentary about Hines Farm, said, “When most African-Americans came north, they moved into urban areas. Most of the jazz and blues clubs that sprang up were in the urban settings. Hines Farm was unique. It was like home for African-Americans who had moved here from the rural South.”

The interior of Hines Farm Blues Club
It was Frank Hines’ job to keep the peace. Hines would check everybody for knives and guns and just take them, then return them when they left. Frank’s wife Sarah was the same way, wouldn’t let any trouble start. Henry Griffin, who owned the property of Hines Farm after the blues club was discontinued in 1976, remembered, “One time Sarah broke a beer over a guy’s head. He got out there and played like he was drunk and was sayin’ a lot of filthy talk in front of the women, and she tried to get him to hush, you know, and he wouldn’t do it. So she went to him a couple of times. The third time, he started all kinds of that filthy talk, and she just took a beer bottle and went up there and hit that son-of-a-bitch on top of his head. That damned bottle shattered all to pieces, man, and that guy said, ‘She tried to kill me.’ He grabbed his head and said, ‘She killed me. I’m gonna tell Sonny’—that’s what everybody called Frank Hines. She said, ‘I don’t give a damn if you tell Sonny—just get the hell out of here.’ And it was peaceful the rest of the night.”

It also had motorcycle races, which were a really big deal. It’s the one thing that everyone who was there recalled, aside from the food and music. Griffin remembered: “Hines would send out a flyer that he was havin’ a motorcycle race and he would have people come from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and they’d get on their motorcycles and ride right up there. And there’d be thousands of ‘em.”

Hines Farm shut down in autumn 1976 and quickly fell into disrepair. Steve Coleman, son of Griffin, who passed away in January 2013, has the place up and running again.

In this documentary clip, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker reminisce about Hines Farm:

Thank you Charles!

Sources for this post include “Historical Blues Club to Reopen” and “Remembering Toledo’s Blues Showcase,” both from the Toledo Blade, and this expansive piece from Toledo’s Attic by Thomas E. Barden and Matthew Donahue. Matthew Donahue is the author of I’ll Take You There: An Oral and Photographic History of the Hines Farm Blues Club. Buy it!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Martha Stewart’s idea of a ‘punk rock party’ is the least punk rock thing that ever happened
01:17 pm



So look: I’m a slacker to the bone, purest Generation X, product release 1970. When I was paying the most attention to pop culture—the early 1990s—Richard Linklater and Douglas Coupland were new figures to the cultural discourse, OK Soda was available in stores, Ethan Hawke was starring in Reality Bites, and Steve Albini was writing about fucked-up record deals in an issue of the Baffler with the words “Alternative to What?” on the cover. The point in me telling you all this is that (a) I’m comfortable with the term “sellout,” and (b) I’ll never not worry, at least a little, about something crossing over too much.

With these thoughts in mind, we turn to Alexandra Churchill’s recent article on Martha Stewart Living about “throwing a punk rock-inspired party,” which, I swear to god, I think may represent a new signpost in the debate about corporate cooptation of rock music, just like, say, Bob Dylan’s Victoria Secret ad. It may be the least punk thing has ever happened, right alongside the 2013 Costume Institute Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which took punk as its theme to honor the Institute’s exhibit “Punk: From Chaos to Couture” (if you haven’t seen the pictures in that link, you really need to click on it).

The pictures in the Martha Stewart Living article are utterly astonishing in their entitled, privileged cluelessness. Since punks are doomy and scary, they recommend serving “Spinach Ricotta Skulls” on a coffin-shaped platter, which obviously seems a lot more “goth” than “punk.” Their vision of “punk-inspired garlands” involve the use of safety pins—yes, MSL, you got that one right—and “plaid fabric,” which ends up evoking a Burberry’s catalog a lot more than it does the Bromley Contingent.

To be fair—which I’m doing despite myself—the text isn’t quite as bad as the imagery. Churchill at least has the wit to name-check “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and “London Calling.” Honestly, if the phrase “ransom note” had even been mentioned as a possible design motif, I’d've let them off the hook completely. Apparently that did not occur to anyone. Instead they went with coffins and fondant with sheet music on it (?).

Even the one picture on the page that is within shouting distance of punk rock—the cover of the Police’s second album, Reggatta de Blanc—has this as its photo credit: “PHOTOGRAPHY BY: COURTESY OF WALMART.” Fuck the man!

I draw two lessons from all of this. The first is that the appeal of punk rock may be far stronger than anyone imagined. Punk rock—even the words “punk rock”—might be a toothless gesture in the direction of something angry and oppositional, but the root idea of it still has impressive staying power, to the point that someone at Martha Stewart Living wants to take some of it over and make it theirs, make it represent them. The second lesson is that there is still something profoundly scary about the anger and nihilism inherent in punk, to the point that Martha Stewart Living has to repress all traces of it and pretend that it’s a neutral style choice like the Pre-Raphaelites or Art Deco. Of course, it isn’t, and that very un-neutrality may mean that we’re heading for another 1977 moment in our culture sometime soon.

Here, MSL’s Erin Furey—almost an apt name, there—teaches you how to make Punk-Rock Inspired Pumpkins, or, er, “Studly Punk-ins,” at the end of which she hilariously throws down a “sign of the horns” hand gesture because it’s so punk rock!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Oops—Hitler’s face finds its way onto Swiss coffee creamer lids
08:09 pm



Oh my. Unsuspecting Swiss citizens on their morning commute looking to make their coffee more tasty were unexpectedly confronted with the face of the twentieth century’s most iconic representation of evil, Adolf Hitler, on their miniature packets of coffee creamer. A subsidiary of Migros, a Swiss retail behemoth, produced the coffee creamer packages, which had both Hitler and Mussolini on them.

According to the New York Times, Tristan Cerf, a spokesman for Migros, said that “the mishap occurred when an outside company asked ELSA, a dairy manufacturer that is one of Migros’s subsidiaries, to supply a series of 55 coffee cream containers based on vintage cigar labels, two of which featured the dictators.”

“I can’t tell you how these labels got past our controls,’’ Mr. Cerf said. “Usually the labels have pleasant images like trains, landscapes and dogs—nothing polemic that can pose a problem.” As the Times reported, “In coffee-loving Switzerland, labels from the mini-cream containers are cult collectibles, and producers often seek new and inventive ways to enhance their appeal.”

On Wednesday, the coffee creamer packages caused a minor sensation on the Internet. The Migros immediately parted ways with Karo Shipping, the company responsible for them. After the existence of the dictator portraits was broken by the Swiss commuter newspaper “20 Minutes” Migros immediately apologized and referred to it as an “unforgivable blunder.”

The designs should never have been shipped, said Migros spokesperson Luzi Weber. Chosen by Karo Shipping, they were adopted before anyone had examined them closely. “In future, we will tighten our controls for these products drastically,” Weber said. A total of 300 boxes, each containing 200 coffee cream portions, were sold. However, the two dictators would recur only four times per package.

Because the Karo Shipping managing director Peter Waelchli described the coffee creamers in various media reports as “not a problem,” Migros immediately broke off business relations with the company, which is located in Bern. “The image is one of many in the series of cigar bands, which is on the collectors’ market for two years,” said Waelchli. The picture was selected from a book about cigar bands. Waelchli can not understand how—after two years—it is suddenly such a big deal in the media. “Sure it’s bad, what happened under Hitler,” Waelchli said. “Even today people do bad things—in Syria people are being beheaded.”

“These statements are unacceptable to us,” said Weber.
Thank you Susan Stone!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Idiot foodies pranked into lovin’ McDonald’s
05:52 pm



Before hitting “play” on this video, please click on “settings” and then select “subtitles.”

Two Dutch pranksters from Life Hunters TV decided to hit up the annual culinary food convention in Houten to see if they could deceive foodies and “high-end food experts” with their supposed restaurant’s new “organic” alternatives to fast food. All these two guys did was go to a local McDonald’s to buy some artery cloggin’ fixins, chopped up the Mickey D’s into neat little squares and then stuck some toothpicks into the food. That’s all.

So were the foodies impressed with this duo’s new line of organic fast food? You betcha! One “expert” remarked:

“I feel some warmth releasing in my mouth. There a lot of different tastes!”

Yes and all of those different tastes swirling around your palette have names that sound like something you heard in chemistry class…

You’ll be pleased to know that at least one of the “experts” tasting the McDonald’s fare thinks it:

“Tastes like chicken.”

Several thought it tasted even better than “real” McDonald’s!

Before hitting “play” on this video, please click on “settings” and then select “subtitles.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Florida man claims he bit into a ‘snaggletoothed’ rat’s head at popular chain restaurant
01:39 pm



Cape Coral, Florida resident, Billy Wilson claims he bit into a “snaggletoothed” rat’s head while eating chili at the popular restaurant chain Golden Corral. Wilson said “The first bite I took out of it was a crunch, and at the time I was like, maybe you know, sometimes you get a hard bean inside of the chili.”

When Wilson spat out the weird “crunch” he quickly realized it was a rat’s head. AND not just any rat’s head mind you. A rat’s head with a snaggletooth!

“When I saw it, I just went into the bathroom and threw up. I was like, ugh, I just couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth,” said Wilson. He added, “It was just nasty.”

The restaurant comped his party’s meal, but the next day he felt queasy and went to the emergency room at Cape Coral Hospital. He said, “I brought the rat up to the ER and they were all horrified, they couldn’t believe it.”

Discharge documents show that Wilson was treated for Gastroenteritis and was prescribed medications for nausea and muscle spasms.

When asked if he planted the rat’s head in the chili, Wilson said, “I would never do that. They have cameras in there and everything. I’m scared of rats.”

Golden Corral is looking into the “rat’s head in the chili incident” and says they’ve been unable to confirm the alleged head but insist they’re “committed to delivering a high quality experience in a clean and safe environment.”

Wilson, naturally, hired an attorney. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

via KLTV and Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Calm your rage (or work on your handjob technique) with these stress reducing ‘shrooms
04:59 pm



Never feel the need to lose your shit again, just grab your handy rubber mushroom and yank the hell out of it! 

... whether it’s financial pressures, relationship problems or overworking – just squeeze the bejesus out of a realistic rubber mushroom and feel your troubles fade away.

The stress reducing mushrooms are by Firebox and come in four different varieties: Enoki, Fly Agaric, King Trumpet and Matsutake.

  • Stretch them, twist them, smash them on the desk
  • Japan’s favourite anger management solution
  • Made from durable rubber, they even feel like the real thing
  • Non hallucinogenic, but more effective than magic mushrooms
  • Four different and slightly phallic fungi to choose from

Each mushroom goes for about $9.50 + shipping. They even feel like the real thing...




Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Eat your greens! Sumptuous high-end edibles from underground pot dining club
07:20 am



Pasture-raised pork schnitzel with overwintered vegetables and Og Kush butter
As pot begins its slow (but hopefully steady) move towards legality, we are faced with a wild new frontier of drug commodities. As far as I know, the plant itself has yet to be cultivated into super-costly strains—or at least… so I’ve heard, but that doesn’t mean pot extravagance isn’t springing up everywhere. There’s been an explosion of stealth bongs, vape pens and vaporizers all in the tony price range, but when a pipe can just as easily be made from an apple, “luxury weed” can be kind of a hard sell.

Enter the world of fine-dining edibles! The gorgeous foodscapes below (from photographer Justin Walker) depict the sorts of meals served at, an underground fine dining club with chapters across the US that specializes in high-end food expertly combined with pot. From the website:

The meal is a carefully calibrated experience from start to finish. Marijuana varietals are tested not just for their organic qualities, but specifically to balance the flavors of each dish and for their psychoactive properties throughout the flow of the dinner. isn’t about getting high — it is about haute cuisine.

Uh-huh. Sure dude. I’d argue that this concept is about novelty, first and foremost—if not taking care of getting high and the munchies in one fell swoop—but who cares? Enjoy your meal, and enjoy your high (where it’s legal, of course). Be careful though! Edibles can knock you on your high-class ass if you’re not expecting it—just ask The New York Times!

Potato gnocchi with White Widow buttered wild mushrooms and fresh Diesel

Roasted local ribeye with Maui Waui baked potatoes and spring vegetables

Warm Girl Scout Cookies Chocolate Cake with Rhubarb and Grand Daddy Purple Ice Cream
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The designer purse that looks like a Happy Meal, only $1,050!
12:07 pm



I’ve never found the concepts of luxury and socialism to be mutually exclusive. Freddy Engels’ son-in-law called him “the great beheader of Champagne bottles,” so I’d argue the Left has a noble history of pleasure and indulgence. What I do object to is the terms by which we define “luxury” under capitalism. There are certain obvious factors that tend to make a good, product or service “precious.” If materials required are scarce or difficult to obtain, there should perhaps logically be an increase in price, but again, while the bourgeoisie retains monopolies and fixes prices (like in the diamond trade, for example), artificial scarcity can inflate prices to unconscionable heights.

There is also dear old Karl‘s Labor Theory of Value, which states that value is to be measured by the labor required to produce it. Again, this seems reasonable, but it’s clearly not reflected in wage labor or commodity pricing. In art, value is further complicated, as price is affected by very subjective factors, like “historical significance” (or speculation thereof) and “innovation.” (Not to mention social connections!) Once more, under capitalism, it’s the bourgeoisie that decides what is/will be historically significant, and it’s the bourgeoisie that decides what is innovative. This is why Jeff Koons can fart in a jar and sell it to a tacky-ass Greek billionaire for more than twenty times what you make in a year.

Also from the Moschino show. Take it one step further and dress like you work at an ultra chic McDonald’s!
Now, disregarding what I believe should be used to determine a justifiable price, let me point you to this $1,050 Happy Meal-inspired purse. I suppose it’s entirely possible that the bag is made from the leather of a rare sacred cow, or that it was hand-sewn by arthritic seamstresses, requiring countless hours to complete, but I have a hunch this is just another case of rich people being gullible fools—the luxury interpretation of “low-culture” is undoubtedly the most ignoble of bourgeois aesthetics. I suppose you could argue the bag is innovative, but only if you know absolutely nothing about fashion or kitsch—the lunchbox purse is practically a classic at this point, and I remember very vividly when these were the ubiquitous handbag for the artier Junior High School girls.

No, this purse, which comes from Moschino’s fall line, is simply an ironic joke about wealth of its owner—they’re paying for the laugh, the irreverence, and the sly wink that says, “Oh, I’m not like one of those rarefied rich people, I burn my glut of cash on dumb shit! Dumb shit that evokes a billion-dollar empire built on garbage food and poverty wages!” I saw shots of the Moschino fashion show that debuted the “Happy Eats Handbag” earlier in the year, but with its “low-culture”/service employee theme, I just assumed it was one of those high concept “runway-shows-as-art-exhibits” affairs, where very little of the line was actually, literally reproduced and sold as ready-to-wear.

Never underestimate the uninspired “zany” blandness of wealth. If you’re feeling cheap, but still want to luxuriate in poverty aesthetics, there are other options. The line also includes a Cheetos knock-off sweater for $750, or even McDonald’s-inspired iPhone case for $85.

That’s right boys and girls, for a trifling $85, you too can laugh along with the wealthy tastemakers!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Have some coke and a smile: When McDonald’s coffee stirrers became the nation’s coke spoon of choice
02:32 pm



Many of you reading this site who also lived through the 1970s as an adult probably have share your of wild stories involving cocaine. That subset of readers is probably aware of the quirky way that McDonalds inadvertently created a piece of cocaine paraphernalia and even became almost synonymous with cocaine in certain contexts. The rest of you, maybe not so much.

In the late 1970s, McDonalds introduced a combination coffee spoon/stirrer that had the company’s name on the handle and a tiny egg-shaped bowl or scoop on one end, while the other end was proudly crowned with the company’s double arches logo. Basically this spoon was, quite by accident, absolutely perfect for use as a coke spoon. The scoop could hold precisely 100 milligrams of cocaine, some have claimed, which made it an ideal measuring device in addition to providing an easy way for coke addicts to snort the stuff. And America’s largest corporations had just deposited countless millions of them all across the country. It was inevitable that cheeky cocaine users would adopt it.

Inadvertently, McDonalds had created the People’s Coke Spoon. 

Remarkably, the adoption of the McDonalds stirrers as a helpful cocaine device was not limited to the product’s user base. Far from it. According to Barbara Mikkelson at (which has confirmed the story), “The practice of using these implements in such fashion became so widespread that at least in some cities, a dose of cocaine was dubbed a ‘McSpoon’ because it came packaged in the tiny coffee stirrers from McDonald’s restaurants. ... In 1992 an undercover detective in Columbus, Ohio, said McSpoons were commonly sold ten to a bundle in that town and twelve to a bundle in Detroit” (emphasis added).

Understandably, McDonalds wasn’t thrilled to see their fine name being used as shorthand for one of the most widespread Schedule II controlled substances as defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Eventually the McDonalds spoon became a flat coffee stirrer. According to, a spokesman for McDonald’s Corp. named Doug Timberlake stated at the time that the fast-food chain had chosen to redesign its spoons because “It has been brought to our attention that people are using them illegally and illicitly for purposes for which they are not intended.”

Three of the McSpoons alongside three of the redesigned flat version
According to a pretty entertaining reddit thread about the “McSpoon,” it was common for coke users to “break away the long middle section and melt the little spoon end to the McDonald’s logo.” When another user asks why on earth anyone would go to so much trouble, the response given is, “You did it so it would fit in a cigarette box.” If you click here you can see what I believe is a Photoshopped image representing what that would look like, I don’t think it’s a photograph of such a stirrer.

Understandably, the “McSpoon” has become the nostalgia artifact for some people. Right now you can buy a lot of 50 McSpoons for $60 on eBay.

In 2005 the artists Tobias Wong and “Ju$t Another Rich Kid” (founded by Ken Courtney) teamed up to create Coke Spoon 02, from “the Indulgent series,” which is described below. Coke Spoon 02 is a version of the McSpoon made of gold-plated bronze, while Coke Spoon 01 is a ballpoint pen cap made of the same expensive material. You can see pics of these items at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website. Wong unfortunately died in 2010, but he endeared himself to me by calling his own body of work “postinteresting,” which is hilarious.

Predictably, McDonalds sent out a cease and desist letter with alacrity.

As Fox News reported at the time:

“The piece was part of the pair’s 2005 ‘Indulgences’ collection, inspired by the luxury goods market and designed to be the ultimate gift for the wealthy bachelor who had it all, said Courtney of Ju$t Another Rich Kid. ‘Indulgences’ featured gold-plated Playboy swizzle sticks, 24-karat gold pills meant to be swallowed, golden dumbbells and another golden coke spoon cast from the cap of a BIC pen.” Wong was quoted as saying, “It’s kind of the pop culture of today with a bling twist.” Philip Wood, the creative director of CITIZEN:Citizen, which had been showing the piece, said, “I think it’s a shame because I don’t think there’s any intent in damning anybody’s reputation. ... It really is a comment on how these objects change shape when they get into culture.”



Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Condom Cookbook: For those intimate boil in the bag meals
05:59 am



I originally thought this was a joke, but apparently not, as Condom Meals I Want to Make for You is a genuine cookery e-book co-created by Kyosuke Kagami (writer of the manga Sentou Hakai Gakuen Dangerous). This novel cookbook contains eleven easy to make recipes, including such tempting delights as “Condom Push Sushi,” “Condom Meat Stuffing,” “Condom Escargot Cooked with Butter” and “Condom Cookies.”

So, what (you may ask) is the story behind this enchiridion of exotic cuisine? Well, the whole thing is intended to encourage safe sex as Japanese men are said to be the “third worst condom users in the world” and it is hoped Condom Meals I Want to Make for You will encourage both men and women to see condoms as more than “just contraceptive devices,” and use them more frequently—both in and out of the kitchen. 

However, anyone with a “penis allergy,” should note the condoms are only used for cooking and serving the food, rather than providing any nutritious goodness. You can order your copy here.
H/T Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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