Vintage Reads #21: Dirty Books Front and Back

Oh, man this is a lot of fun.  These old adult paperbacks have some of the best descriptions.  The covers are great, but you really miss out if you don't read the back.  Too often we scan and preserve the wonderfully sleazy covers but neglect the back.  Well, the injustice ends here.  I've posted a bunch of paperback covers - both front and back for your reading enjoyment.  I've quoted some of the best lines below the images, but if you want to see it full size, just click the image.  Enjoy!


Beatles Covers #9: A Mix Tape for Your Listening Pleasure

I used to shake my head in disgust whenever I'd hear a fab four cover.  I remember wondering why Elton did Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - what was the point? It was like remaking Gone with the Wind or repainting the Mona Lisa.  It's already been done perfectly, what exactly do you hope to prove by covering it?

Fortunately, I'm not as jaded and protective of the Beatles as I once was.  In fact, I've learned to see Beatles covers as a genre of music unto itself.  It's interesting to listen to the infinite variations each artist brings to the table.  Sure, they're horrible 99 times out of a 100; but, like a B-movie, you learn to appreciate its awfulness (if that makes sense).

Of course there's a limit to my tolerance.  I put one track on this mix tape that crosses the line - Bananarama's version of "Help".  Whereas Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is wonderfully bad, this 80s synth cover is beyond bad.  I literally have a physical reaction to this song; my hands become sweaty and clammy, my heart palpitates, and my left eye twitches uncontrollably... I had to shut it off for fear of a stroke.

That being said, there are some good ones on here. My personal faves are Junior Parker's desolate version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" and Nilsson's medley, "You Can't Do That".


Shafted! #5: Generation X

we all fall down

When you’re a kid you want everything to be fair. I can remember, on a long car ride from Massachusetts to Miami, my dad went into a gas station and came out with a Sprite for my brother and nothing for me. He may as well have taken a knife and stabbed it in my heart – how dare my brother gets a Sprite and I get nothing! This was a travesty! What sort of father would do this to a child?

Well, the older I got the more I learned life was anything but fair. Indeed, from the minute you’re born the playing field is already unlevel. Whether you’re born on a rice paddy in Vietnam or in a mansion in Silicon Valley is beyond your control – it’s just life. Whether you’re butt ugly or shockingly beautiful is basically predetermined the minute your parents copulate (sorry for the visual image there).

When you were born also has a lot to do with your advantages and disadvantages in life. The Boomers certainly didn’t have it great and wonderful – the minute they were of age, they were shipped to Southeast Asia to fight an unpopular war. They also had to contend with the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation, and a 1970s economy that was nothing like the Land-O-Plenty their parents were able to enjoy after WWII.

That being said, Gen X (and you could easily argue the following generation(s) as well) has been completely, incontrovertibly, wholly 100 percent shafted. Let me count the ways:


Retrospace Podcast #15

Take a trip back in time with your Time Lord of Funk, Gilligan. I've got a T.A.R.D.I.S. with shag carpet and beaded curtains (and it smells vaguely of "sage"). But don't be afraid, in 15 minutes it'll all be over - of course, there may be flashbacks and memory loss, but it's only been demonstrated in mice.  And you may notice some excessive sweating and experience some mild night terrors, but nothing permanent.  In fact, there's only been one instance of someone actually exploding by listening to this podcast, but the Retrospace Legal Defense Team feels he had a pre-existing condition.


Evil Knievel Anti Drug Speach
"General Hand Grenade" by Trooper
Six Million Dollar Man TV promo
PSA on gift receiving ettiquette by the Shangra Las
Fonzie teaches Mork about kissing
The $10,000 Pyramid (original full version) with the following clips cross faded in:
Spicoli is high (from Fast Times at Ridgmont High)
Ms. Pac Man contest on "That's Incredible" TV show
"My Dad Lives in a Downtown Hotel" After School Special
Rare version of the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century theme with lyrics
The Otter Defense from "National Lampoon's Animal House"
"X Ray Eyes" by Kiss (from the Dynasty album)


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Note 5/8/11 - It has come to my attention that this podcast has been down for a bit; however, it is up and running again.

Mini Skirt Monday #69: Singers & Musicians

folk musicians 1969

It's 1973, you've been on the road all day on a business trip and it's time to stop someplace for the night.  You pull in at the Holiday Inn and the girl with the miniskirt checks you in.  You toss your stuff in your room and immediately head to the lounge.  The Scotch tastes especially good in the lantern lit room.  There's live music tonight, so you ease back in your leather chair and enjoy the performers.... especially the singer in the miniskirt. Ahhhhh.

Alas, those days are gone.  But Retrospace is here to keep that miniskirt flame a'burnin'.  So, let's check out a bunch of singers and musicians decked out in their minis.  Enjoy.


Let's Get Physical #8: Old School Muscle and Fitness Magazine Covers

I know body building was around well before the 1970s, but I think that's when it came closest to hitting mainstream - a craze that continued well into the '80s.  Lou Ferrigno was big back then - mainly for his role on The Incredible Hulk, but he was in a lot of magazines and popped up on TV a lot (like in The Fall Guy and even Mister Rogers).

Of course it was Schwarzenegger who is most responsible for bringing bodybuilding to masses.  Pumping Iron was a pretty successful movie, and he also found his way into many a cameo and magazine article - well before he became Conan or the Terminator. Schwarzenegger has been very frank about his steroid use back then, but it wasn't illegal and pretty much every bodybuilder was using them.

I think the "sport" went nuts in the 1980's.  Looking at the magazine covers, you can see it digressing  from the very fit looking barrel chested Schwarzenegger in the late seventies to the late eighties and the guys (and now girls!) look downright scary: throbbing, sinewy, and lathered in oil.  It had gone from being cool to kinda' creepy.

Well, sit back and enjoy a selection of muscle and fitness magazines from yesteryear.  I'm not a huge fan of bodybuilding and don't know a whole lot about it, but it sure is interesting (and oftentimes amusing) looking at these covers.  Common thread through most of these: hot women and ripped shirtless dudes.  Sounds like a recipe for greatness to me - let's have a look.

Food & Drink #11: Cookbook-O-Rama

Cooking for Two

Is this appetizing to anyone out there? Does Hollandaise sauce really go with Maraschino cherries? And why are broccoli florets stuffed into pale fatty slices of ham?   It certainly looks interesting, but were they thinking about taste at all when they created this? Do you hold it by the florets to nibble on the ham?.... So many questions, so little time.

Well, if you think that dish is mysterious, check out this next cookbook cover from 1978.  There's a tray of something with a slice of meringue (or is it mashed potato?) removed to reveal an extremely unpleasant looking  meat mixture.  Yum.


Retro Film Report #16: Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976)

lobby card (200)

Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw tries to be Bonnie & Clyde or Badlands, but ends up being much more like the millions of hick flicks and trucker movies that were churned out in the seventies.  What separates this movie from the likes of Truck Stop Women and Breaker! Breaker! is the lovely Lynda Carter and the thoroughly intriguing lead actor Marjoe Gortner.  Plus, the movie delivers the goods: plenty of action and T&A.

Magazines #18: Three's Company Bananas Magazine


Here's another Bananas magazine for you.  This one's got Three's Company, Kiss, The Fonz, Wings, Shaun Cassidy, and loads more to quench your insatiable thirst for 70s pop culture grooviness.  And be sure to read Case History: Jimmy a Troubled Teen as well as the Q&A for teen fashion and makeup.  Enjoy!



The Vintage Home #12


By far, my worst type of home is the 2000's cookie cutter McMansion with its "open floor plans".  God I hate being in the dining room and being able to wave to someone across the kitchen to the living room.  There's no privacy.  Worst of all, everything is the same; eventually the featureless drywall and the stark uniformity would drive me crazy. No thanks.

I live in a house that's over a hundred years old and I love its character and layout.  It's near downtown and in a centuries old neighborhood with lots of big trees.... far, far from those gated communities with rustic names like "Deer Creek", "Willow Brook" and "River Chase".  What is this, the fucking Shire?

Cinema #18: Killer Lobby Cards (Part 4)

lobby card (29)

California Dreaming (1979) was your typical story of a kid from Chicago learning "to live" out in sunny California.  Plenty of bikinis and Tanya Roberts, so it can't be too bad.  My understanding is that, for the re-release of this movie, the title song performed by America (a cover of the Mamas and Papas song) was removed.  Why? It's not like the band is ashamed of the song - it's on their greatest hits album.  No comprende.


Decade of Decadence #8: From Decadent to Decent

Sure, TV reality shows can paint a pretty naughty picture of American culture at large.  And if you listen to guys like Glenn Beck and James Dobson, it certainly sounds like we're living in a modern day Sodom. Indeed, Beck routinely compares today's American society to Wiemar Germany. But I've got news for you. This is nothing, NOTHING, compared to 30+ years ago.  Indeed, we look like  mid-1600's New England in comparison.... and the irony is that it was Beck's and Dobson's generation that brought you the ultimate decade of decadence.

Before I say anything else, let me clarify.  I'm not saying we live in an idyllic Shire, far removed from the 1970's Mordor.  Nothing is that simple.  However, you simply can't learn and analyze history without doing a certain amount of generalizing.  Not everyone was decadent in the seventies, and certainly not everyone today is Puritanical. But that fact shouldn't prevent you from diagramming history via prevalent cultural attitudes.

Mini Skirt Monday #68: Lovebirds

1969 tilt-a-whirl

Well, Spring is finally here, and it's only right that we devote this mini episode to love. The vintage minis for today will all feature a couple of lovebirds with one wearing a miniskirt (sorry, no pictures of boys in short skirts, only chicks). Yes, I know.  I've already done a couples theme for Miniskirt Monday; but that was nearly a year ago, so we're due for another. What's to say except - enjoy another round of minis with your Monday.


Vintage Scan #33: Spanish Newspaper Movie Ads from the Seventies


I thought it might be mildly interesting to check out some newspaper ads from Spain published in the 1970's.  Why? For one, I'm always interested in anything from this decade, and, for another, I'm always interested in other cultures.  You can honestly tell a lot about a society by its newspapers, and movie ads are great reflections of the times.

I mostly picked lesser known flicks - I'm not so much interested in the Spanish ads for blockbusters like Rocky or Jaws.  Five Pillows for a Night (see ad above) is a perfect example. I'll do my best to translate these, but I'm by no means fluent.  Please correct or add to this post in a comment. Enjoy!


Needlework A-Go Go #16: 1001 Fashion Needlecraft Ideas (1971)

1001 fashion needlecraft ideas 1

When I see Mama Partridge on the cover of a needlecraft book, I pounce like a lion and grab it and don't let go.  Yes, I'm sure I'm just about the only person on Planet Earth whose heart races at a forty year old book on yarn craft, but so be it.  The images inside did not disappoint, either.  Check out a few!

Kid Stuff #16: Movie Monster Make-Up

Monster Make Up and Monster Shows to Put On (1975)

When I was a kid, it seemed like every boy my age was into monsters.  Of course, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and UFOs were huge back then.  Plus, your standard monsters (i.e. Frankenstein, King Kong, Godzilla, Dracula, The Mummy, etc.) were also hot topics on the elementary school playground.  Attribute it if you like, to a natural consequence of our parents' fascination with the occult and the horror genre during the seventies.  Or perhaps it was just a continuation of the monster love generated by Famous Monsters of Filmland enjoyed by the Boomers since 1958.  Whatever the cause, the fact was undeniable - boys of the early seventies were obsessed with monsters.

Of all the monster products back then (Aurora monster figures, Cracked monster special issues, Creepy and Eerie magazines, etc., etc.), for some reason I latched on to a little book called Movie Monsters: Monster Make Up and Monster Shows to Put On by Alan Ormsby.  I read the shit out of that book - cover to cover many times, and would savor every page.  It's very peculiar considering I never once put on a monster show or even once wore monster make up.

It's a mystery why I loved it so much, but there's no accounting for the tastes of an eight year old. At any rate, I feel compelled to share this obscure little book with the readers of Retrospace.  So, here it is.  Enjoy.


Sorry - due to bandwidth overload, this was shut down by the file storage service.  


Bracketology #2: The Greatest Comedy Film of All Time

The Purpose: To determine the greatest comedy film of all time

Once again Retrospace sets its sights on proving the unprovable.  We are, through a rigorous scientific method, attempting to conclusively determine the single greatest comedy film of all time.  As you may recall from the previous Bracketology post, this is no easy feat.  Hundreds of hours of deliberation, testing and reanalyzing data were spent to present you with our findings.... to once and for all settle the debate of "what is the greatest comedy film of all time".  At last we have an answer.


Retrospace Podcast #14

Treat yourself to another life changing edition of the Retrospace Podcast. But I must warn you: limit yourself to 4 - 5 listens per day.  Otherwise, your brain will grow tolerant to its drug-like magic, and you will need more and more.  Eventually, you will be unable to function in society.  Sadly, we've had several cases of addicts who had to be "put down". It wasn't pretty.

All things in moderation.  Enjoy.




Track List
  • generic 70s background music
  • quote: Roddy Piper from They Live
  • Young Nurses radio spot
  • "Houdini Said" by Gilbert O'Sullivan
  • Mr. Kotter joke
  • Underdog theme song
  • The Brady Bunch singing group promo
  • Laverne and Shirley theme
  • Disney's The Misadventures of Merlin Jones radio commercial
  • "It's Allright to Cry" by Rosie Grier from the Free to be You and Me soundtrack
  • Quote: Chet from Weird Science
  • "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" by The Carpenters


The Vintage Home #11

It's hard to believe, but once upon a time it was okay to make your toilet look like a birthday cake.  The Pepto-Bismol pink toilet goes perfectly with the yellow wall, don't you think? And remember when all Kleenex boxes had crochet covers? Ahhh, the good old days.  Let's have a look at some more home decor from yesteryear.

Mini Skirt Monday #67: Party Time

Feb '71 (found photo)

This round of miniskirt images all center around that youthful pastime - the party.  In my day (said in a shaky old man voice) we took kegs to the woods or annexed a house with out-of-town parents.  Of course, there were always those parents who wanted nothing more than to be "cool" to their kid's friends, and they'd let you drink, smoke and all manner of other illicit activities at their house.  My kids aren't quite at that age yet (and maybe they'll never be as stupid as I was), but I can only assume things haven't changed much.

Indeed, generations come and go, but one thing that never changes is youth acting like drunken fools at parties.  I would imagine if they had Polaroids back in the Roman or Medieval days, the fashions would be different, but the pictures would look just like these.  Just picture the photo above with the boys in leather jerkins and the girls in bodices and farthingales.


Vintage Reads #20: Bananas and Other Grade School Reads

Bananas 1982

I wasn't much of a book reader in elementary and middle school.  Unless the book happened to be about Bigfoot or Kiss, I probably wasn't interested.  However, I did read quite a bit, but it was stuff with lots of pictures: i.e. comic books and magazines.  I'd read a Doonesbury compendium that had way more words and harder concepts than any Judy Blume novel; but, because it wasn't a chapter book, my parents and teachers remained unimpressed.

In terms of magazines, this is what I read from First Grade all the way through to Seventh: Bananas, Pizazz, Dynamite, Cracked, MAD, and Crazy.  All of which I read religiously, cover to cover, multiple times till they were wore out.

By junior high, I graduated to more "intellectual" reading: Creem, Eerie, Creepy, Hit Parader, and even Omni.  But my heart still has a soft spot for those old kids mags.  That's why I thought it was time to resurrect one of my old faves, Bananas.  Enjoy.



Shafted! #4: Blaxploitation Cinema

Before you point it out: Yes, I see the humor in saying blaxploitation cinema was "shafted" (as in "Shut your mouth! I'm talkin' 'bout Shaft!").  But there's nothing funny about the way African American film was given a debilitating kick in the crotch by, of all people, the NAACP!  The films were accused of creating negative stereotypes, protested against, and summarily removed from theaters. 

Guys like Fred Williamson, a popular blaxploitation actor, were saying WTF? We finally have a genre of cinema that we can call our own, and it employs tons of black actors and movie crews.... and the the NAACP takes it away from us!  

Personally, I view this as a travesty. You didn't see Caucasian groups boycotting Stallone- Seagal- Schwarzenegger because they portrayed whites in a violent light.  No, they let them do their thing and get filthy stinking rich in the process..... something Richard Roundtree, Fred Williamson, and Pam Grier were not allowed to do.

For those of you naysayers who think it was a good thing to shut these films down, consider the following points.

1.  Perhaps the pimps, hustlers, and hoes weren't stereotypes, but rather a real reflection of the crime ridden urban neighborhoods.  Should they have made all their movies like The Cosby Show, a pretend alternate universe far removed from reality?
2. If you actually WATCH these films, you'll quickly discover that there's always a very moral to the story.  The young black man who decides to get rich pimping and selling drugs always ends up paying a heavy price, and often makes a positive turnaround.
3. As I mentioned, these films employed hundreds and hundreds of black actors and movie crews.  They may have been shut out of mainstream Hollywood, but folks like Pam Grier and Ron O'Neal found a venue in the ghettos across America.
4. These films had EXCELLENT soundtracks.  It was a wonderful opportunity to promote black music, and names like Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes profited from it.

And have you looked in theaters these  days?  I just don't understand it.  It seems like black people are only allowed to play in comedies..... literally EVERY African American movie is a goofy comedy! How is okay for them to constantly play buffoons, but they were forbidden to play empowered badasses givin' it to "the man"?  I won't say a racist conspiracy is at work here, but it certainly makes you wonder what the hell is going on.


Vintage Wheels #10: Choppers!

Admittedly, the closest I ever came to own a chopper was my Green Machine back in the early seventies.  I did enjoy watching Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, but that's where my chopper experience ends.  But around this same time, a motorcycle culture was emerging in the States, and the chopper was their ultimate symbol: speed, coolness, anti-authority, hell on wheels.  Easy Rider simply underlined its awesomeness.

I came across some really amazing photographs from the 1970s featuring these extended front motorcycles.  Don't look for helmets in any of these photos - you won't find them.  What you will find is the seventies at its finest.  Take a look.


Sex Sells #22:

Peruvian carpet ad

God forbid you just show the carpet.... no, you've got to drape a pretty woman across it, smiling at you invitingly.  Of course, the "sex sells" principle is a tried and true selling technique, one that I've discussed a lot about here on Retrospace.  So, I won't go into detail about the principle.  Instead, you and I can just admire the ads.

This time 'round, we'll take a look at a few Hispanic examples of products marketed using this technique.  The combination of a Sexual Revolution in full swing and a permissiveness towards sexuality in Latin American countries makes for some real interesting advertising!

Opinions and Rants #31: Schooool's Out For Ever!

It seems like state after state is deciding to balance their budget by shafting the government employees, namely teachers.  While I agree there's a bloating at the top, and a lot of practices highlighted in Waiting for Superman are unbelievably inane, I still have doubts whether this the right thing to do.

Here's the deal: the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the middle class has accelerated exponentially.  There simply wasn't the magnitude of separation between rich and poor back in the sixties and seventies; this is an inarguable point, the numbers are clear.  As a consequence of the unprecedented accumulation of wealth among the top five to ten percent, the middle class has shrunk and become closer and closer aligned with the lower class.  It's something akin to France before the French Revolution, and Russia before the Bolsheviks brought down the Czars.

With this fact in mind, recall that our government spent billions upon billions of dollars bailing out these Fortune 500 companies.  We made damn sure these guys didn't suffer the loss of a nickel, and were steadfast in ensuring they got their gigantic severance packages. They were simply too big to fail; or so said Obama's advisors, all former AIG and Goldman Sachs CEOs.


The Groovy Age of Travel #5

Ansett Airlines of Australia Air HostessTraining

Nest time you’re flying, take note of your flight attendants – both male and female. Take a good long look at their conservative attire. Then read these quotes from a 1979 newspaper article.

As the flight attendant helps you adjust your seat and begins taking orders for cocktails, have you ever wondered how the airline selects her uniform? There may be a lot more to the process than you think.

“We have a company image to project,” says Barbara Collins, assistant chief flight attendant. “We want the woman to look professional and subtly sexy.”

Ms. Collins stressed that PSA stewardesses have never worn slacks and never will. Skirts are feminine and show off legs, and for an airline that caters to a large percentage of businessmen, that’s a factor to consider.

“We try to select designs that set our attendants apart from all the rest and we want them to look young and attractive,” she says.

As part of their training, new flight attendants attend a grooming class and are then sent to a salon for advice concerning hair styles and makeup.


In 1969 PSA decided to open the eyes of Californians and the airline industry by introducing the unforgettable pink and orange mini-skirts worn with matching hotpants and midcalf boots. And for the total effect, stewardesses were required to wear hula orange lipstick, false eyelashes and eyeliner.

It was time again for change in 1974. Only this time it took a more conservative approach…. The retirement of the short skirts was a big disappointment for many male travelers. But for girl watchers, there is consolation in the slit in today’s PSA skirt or the two buttons left undone in the front of the jumper.

Now take a look at a bunch of photographs of stewardesses before they were called flight attendants. Things are sooo much better now.... right?


1000 Followers: Time to Celebrate!

you know it's a good party when...  (found photo)

Yes, it's time for another glass of scotch.  We deserve it - me, you and all the other subscribers.  Retrospace has over 2 thousand subscribers at this point, and we've reached the historic landmark of 1,000 Blogger followers.  I'd say that's deserving of a toast.  Cheers!

It wouldn't be quite true to say that it was a rocket to the top, an overnight sensation.  I've been posting every day since the Summer of 2008 (Good God that's insane).  But, as I've said many times before, I've enjoyed every minute of it - there's no better therapy for the daily grind than to escape into Retrospace an hour or two a night.  I'm just grateful that you and all the subscribers are there to take that trip with me.  Many thanks, and bottoms up!


Retrospace Mix Tape #13: Bicycle Tracks

When I think of bicycle songs, Queen's "Bicycle Race" instantly comes to mind.  After that, it make take some time to think of more.... but there's actually quite a few nice odes to the bike.  In fact, this may be my favorite mix tape to date - there's some real goodies in here.  Tomorrow (Steve Howe's psychedelic band before Yes) recorded a particularly acid fueled ditty called "My White Bicycle" which was later covered by the gravel throated band Nazareth.

The early synth band from Germany, Kraftwerk, put out a bicycle tune called "Tour De France".  I must admit, I've never been much of a Kraftwerk fan - they remind me of Mike Myer's "Sprockets" skit on SNL.  Although, I can respect their gigantic influence upon later synth-pop groups like New Order and Depeche Mode.

Even Englebert Humperdinck makes an appearance on this bicycle compilation.  His music hasn't stood up well over time here in the States; however, the dude can sing. He was also quite the ladies man.  Supposedly, he ranks up there with the all time leaders of lay: Wilt Chamberlain, Gene Simmons and Bill Wyman.

Pink Floyd's "Bike" deserves inclusion as well.  Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I much prefer the LSD driven psychedelia of the Syd Barret days over the somber and serious "arteest" days of Waters/Gilmore.  Dark Side of the Moon's got nothing on "Lucifer Sam", "Arnold Lane", and "See Emily Play".

Well, I've rambled long enough.  Here's your track list...


Vintage Style #18: anuncios idioma español

I've actually been trying to learn Spanish for a number of years.  I've gotten to where I can read it pretty well, but  I'm still lost when hearing it spoken.... unless you talk really, really slow.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun going through some old Spanish language advertising, doing my best to translate them.  Several ads were too wonderful not to share.... further proof that bad fashion choices were a worldwide epidemic in the seventies, not just in the States.

Vintage Business #10: Say Goodbye to Service

Dress Shopping

Ever try to actually get help at those big super stores like Wal-Mart? It’s a joke. The commercials for Home Depot make it look like there’s a fella’ at every aisle just waiting to help you with your next project – eager to show you in intricate detail how to build your child’s new tree house.

Yeah right. We all know how it goes down. It takes an eternity to even find someone to help you, and when you do actually flag somebody down they are either (A) hopelessly confused, (B) extremely put out by you, or (C) both A and B.

Of course, the guys mixing your paint, flipping your burgers and bagging your groceries are paid a salary that is well below the poverty level, they receive no benefits, and have absolutely no job security (and thus no company loyalty) whatsoever. If I were in that situation, there’s no doubt I’d be a disgruntled SOB and develop of white hot hatred for customers.

And while it’s true that there’s still employees out there that are helpful and appreciative of their job, the service oriented jobs simply do not exist anymore. A lot of these jobs we used to take for granted are now long gone. A few glaring examples…