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johnny dollar's vault

retro pop culture and various local observations and ramblings.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
johnny dollar's vault resides in the basement of stately dollar maisonTM, amongst the wine cellar, tiki bar, and finicky electrical panel. from time to time i will unearth various artifacts from either there or from the random crevices of my mind.

please visit the new and improved pig cookin' post!

NOTE: this blog will NOT deal with any recent pop culture (i.e. since about 1990) or topical issues, so if you're looking for discussion about britney baracko jacko flacco, look elsewhere, lol

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

vintage tiki decor found in ocean city, maryland

well we had the good fortune to be able to escape to off-season o.c. this weekend (the "real oc" btw), and while it was not the intent of the enjoyment of the boardwalky honky tonky goodness, we ran across some vintage hidden tiki decor.

the safari hotel was closed for the season, but as you can tell immediately by the exterior, this place is easily from the time that people drank martinis and rob roys at the beach instead of margaritas and beer.

my eagle-eyed matrimonial conspirator caught this africanized fellow thru the reflective plate glass, and upon futher inspection we found a foyer full of all sorts of imagined african exotica. pretty wild!

i think what might have happened is that the decorators ordered the three tiki totems from a company like "orchids of hawaii," a supplier for many of the chinese and polynesian restaurants across the usa. i don't know if they were supplied with the "african" paint job or if that was applied onsite.

this photo above supports my theory ~ this is a tiki at the fiji island restaurant in roanoke, virginia. looks like they're related, huh?
i'm not sure what the point of this post is, but it was fun to find hidden tiki in the o.c. we'll have to book a nite at the safari notel during the on-season.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

happy new year from calgon

it's the year of the pig! celebrate by undermining your husband's marketing prowess.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

polock johnny's dollars

so we got to the polock johnny's on washington blvd in southwest baltimore. i instantly dug the juxtapostion of liquor store and giant sausage man.

sadly the neon sign outside wasn't all lit up yet, but it still was a pretty straightforward, solid sign. for a business (i'm not sure about this location) established in 1921, the sign is pooty troo to its roots.

but a pretty vintage lookin' sign inside was! i risked a hairy eyeball from the hon at the counter and snapped a photo.

mmm... i got the big polish sausage with the works and onion rings. brought it home and popped a natty boh. life is good... btw that's some dam tasty tube steak, i recommend you go get yourself one.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

jhoon rhee: nobody bodder me!

did this commercial ever make it up this way? i rate it as one of the top five best commercials ever from my life.

you can d-lode this and the other groovy soundtack one from jhoonrhee.com

Friday, February 09, 2007

listen to the mandarin rain

so i couldn't get it out of my head where this font originated from, so i did some intarnets searching and found out that at least what looks like a likely suspect is a linotype typeface called "mandarin." fer those of youse that don't knows, linotype was the first mainstream automated printing machine, and those little nits we call fonts were originally designed as molds into which molten lead would solidify so you could print with the resulting big honking lead block of type.

"mandarin" was designed by the "type founders of chicago." you can now buy this font from linotype online, but why pay money? there are several free fonts you can download that get pretty close:


china one




Sunday, February 04, 2007

chinese restaurant matchbooks - so cool

alright so maybe i'm on a jag about chinese [american] restaurants. whatevah. these rock. some of these were inherited to me by my grandpaw, who was... kind of a collector of ephemera. sound like anyone we know?

charlie low's forbidden city. DARN CLEVER THESE CHINESE! lol. classic ~ that chop suey font is so universal... where does it come from? of course they didn't call if font back in tha day.

shanghai inn. OO SOUP!!!1

china doll is a beautiful cover. i think i bought this in pennsylvania. note the lack of area code - it's ci - 5 - 8981. new york's only chinese nite club!!! i bet there was some hardcore dragon lady bizniss goin on.

rice bowl shangri-la is my favorite vintage chinese restuarant matchbook. the inside is supreme ~ my very cautious grandpaw snipped off the flammacious parts, and in the process axed some of the entrees etc. listed on each individual match *sigh*... check it out: "VEAL & LAMB CHOP" - "[SOUT]HERN FRIED CHICKEN" - "[CHAR?]COAL STEAKS" - "[?] FOODS" - "[?] MIGNON SHEE" - "[?] SUAN YUK" - "[?] DIP HAR" - "[MOO] GOO GAI PAN" - "[CHO]W MEINS" - "[CHO]P SUEYS" - "[CAN]TONISE DISHES" - "[MIX]ED DRINKS" - "[COC]KTAILS" - "[POL]YNESIAN DRINKS." have you ever seen a matchbook with such loving detail? i needs me that time machine to go drink me a scorpion at rice bowl shangri-la.

tres cool, i got a link on the wired blog. i'm eccentric! sweet!
also a shout on mr bali hai!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

a swell pic from 1955

uncle fred and mom. too cool for school, daddy-o.