Monday, May 27, 2024

1970s Weird Weight Loss Fads: In My Footsteps Podcast

It is natural to want to feel and look the best we can. Diet and exercise are the most common way to achieve this and come in all shapes and sizes. However, some of these weight loss ideas skew into weird and unusual territory. In this segment from the In My Footsteps Podcast we look at some of the oddest fitness fads of the 1970s. Hopefully, you didn't try any of these. To listen to episodes of the In My Footsteps Podcast click here: Become A Subscriber to the Podcast on Patreon: Purchase a DVD copy of the Lady of the Dunes documentary here: Purchase the new book Searching for the Lady of the Dunes written by 12th Generation Cape Codder Christopher Setterlund at This video contains some images created with the help of Bing AI, some videos and photos used from Canva Pro. Intro Music: Weirder Stuff - Geographer End Music: Local Elevator - Kevin MacLeod

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Initial Impressions 2.0 #18: Is This Thing On?, Remote Controlled Moron, ATM Etiquette, etc.

1. I’ve been messing around with the idea of turning this blog into a second podcast for weeks now. I decided to make an attempt at recording a video version of last week’s blog. I set up my microphone and my Ring light and it looked halfway decent. I decided to use my Clipchamp video editing software to record the video since it has a green screen option in post-editing. So I recorded the entire podcast, probably something like 15 minutes. Once I was finished I was trying to figure out how to stop the recording. The only problem was I hadn’t even started recording. It’s not just ‘hit record’ and go, no there are more steps for Clipchamp which I wasn’t aware of. I basically talked to nobody for 15 minutes, yay. After that my eyes were hurting from the Ring light so I shelved the video for another time.

2. It’s not every day that you see someone wash their car at a gas station. There was a woman who after pumping gas used the squeegee and cleaner that is next to most gas pumps to quite literally wash her entire SUV. She even had her own rags to dry it off. I don’t think the attendants can do anything really since it probably happens almost never. Still, it was weird to watch. Needless to say, it motivated me to wash my car, but at an actual car wash.

3. I’m lucky to live only a few minutes drive from the beach. I take advantage of that nearly every day. I’ll go and sit and listen to music, or a podcast, or just listen to the ocean. I’m setting a peaceful scene here. It’s rare to see something I’ve never seen before at the beach. The other day though I was relaxing and got to bear witness to a seagull throwing up next to my car and another seagull leaning over and eating that throw-up like it was no big deal. It was like something out of a gross-out movie.

Yeah, it was kinda like that...

4. I don’t get how someone can be standing in their driveway driving their remote-controlled car into the actual road repeatedly and then get mad at me for having the audacity to drive to work. Either selfish, entitled, or stupid, or a fine mix of all three.

5. It’s not every day that you see a squirrel inside, let alone inside the gym where I work. Granted it was a cute little fluffy one but it’s not good for training people if you have a wild animal crawling along pipes on the ceiling. It was in there when nobody was around so it wasn’t too bad, but I was surprised nobody heard me in the next room yell when I spotted the squirrel. It scurried away through a hole around a heating pipe in case you were wondering.

It didn't even wipe down the equipment after!

6. It’s at the point now that anytime I see a beautiful girl anywhere I just assume she’s either too young or is in a relationship. I might be right or wrong but I can’t really find out because a stranger walking up to a beautiful girl and asking her age and status typically won’t fly unless you’re in a bar and can blame alcohol. Sadly I don’t drink anymore so I can’t use that excuse. Maybe they should all wear IDs that share the info?

7. From the ‘You Can’t Un-see That’ Department: I went into the locker room at the gym to quickly use the urinal. There are also a pair of stalls. As I turned the corner to where these were located an older man came out of one stall with his pants and underwear around his knees. He proceeded to open the next stall to go in there with his bare ass hanging out. It was not a pleasant sight early in the morning. I rushed out of there just in case he did something in that other stall. Sadly even though I didn’t see his face in there I found out who he was because he was the only person in the entire gym wearing jeans to work out.

8. Having a Facebook fan page for my podcast I have had to get used to being spammed by bots claiming my account will be shut down. I tend to get 3-4 a week at least. I’m not sure if it was a bot but the other day I had the same account leave the same comment on my last 8 posts. No sir, if you are real, I don’t want your help in getting more YouTube views. I’d basically be paying a bot to give me a virus.

9. A common sales trick in advertisements is to put the word ‘only’ or ‘just’ in front of a high price to make you think it’s actually a good deal. When I hear I could lease some rando SUV for ‘only’ $649/mo (plus a huge initial down payment of course) I picture the marketing people laughing at potential buyers as they put that into the ad copy.

10. An update from a few weeks ago. I shared a photo of a beach near my work that had a sign telling people they couldn’t drive their vehicles down a paved section and onto the beach. Apparently, the sign wasn’t a good enough explanation. Now as you can see there is a large rock at the beginning of that paved section. I guess it was figured that if people can’t read, or understand what the image of a vehicle with the red circle with a line through it meant, they’d understand a giant rock blocking the entrance. Where’s the ‘shaking my head’ emoji?

How it started. How it's going.

11. In your opinion what is proper etiquette when in your vehicle at an ATM? Do you keep back from the vehicle in front of you a bit like you would if you were standing at an ATM? Or do you get right up on their bumper? I keep back because it just seems more polite. If I was standing at an ATM and the person behind me was on me like a backpack I’d be pretty pissed. So why not the same for in your car? I don’t know that was just something that popped into my head.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

In My Footsteps Podcast Episode 145: 1980s Educational Kids Shows, The Madness of Playing Tetris, Defunct TV Channels(5-22-2024)


Sharpening young minds with some 1980s kids' television shows. Melting young minds in the 80s with Tetris. Some television channels that are no longer around.
Episode 145 rings in summer (unofficially) as Memorial Day Weekend approaches.
The show kicks off with some of the shows that helped teach the youth of the 1980s. Spanning math, science, and overall basic skills there was no shortage of classic TV shows that glued Gen-X kids to the screen. We're going to look at some of the beloved educational children's shows of the 1980s. How many of these do you remember watching?
Tetris has been a staple of the video game landscape for 35 years. It is so well known that the mention of its name conjures up both the shapes of the pieces and the earworm music that plays throughout. We're going to go way Back In the Day and do a deep dive into the madness and addiction of Tetris.
Today it seems like new television channels are popping up regularly. For the hundreds of channels that exist it is not always a success getting into the tv market. For this week's Top 5 we're going to go over some of the channels that used to exist but don't anymore. Did you watch any of these defunct television channels?
There is a brand new This Week In History and Time Capsule which looks at the creation of the first postcards.
For more great content become a subscriber on Patreon!

Helpful Links from this Episode

Listen to Episode 144 here 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Initial Impressions 2.0 #17: Never Ending Pumpkin, Nut Job Idiot Day, Coyote Conga Line, etc.

1. Mother’s Day was this past week. It was a great time as I got my mother a nice comfy office chair to help her with her many hours she spends making quilts for friends and family. It was made even better by the fact that I put the chair together on my own. Staples offered to put it together for me for the tidy sum of $60. Ha. Jokes on them, it took me 10 minutes to do. I do think they tried to sabotage me though as I was one screw short in the box.

2. Perhaps the wildest thing that has gone virtually unnoticed by me is the fact that my Halloween pumpkin is still alive and kicking. Yes, you heard right. The mini pumpkin I bought a few weeks before Halloween is still thriving now as we’ve passed Mother’s Day. Part of me wants to take it outside and smash it for a fun video. Another part of me wants to wait and see just how long this thing will last before it gets all rotten.

Still alive and well for now.

3. I guess I was feeling like connecting back to my childhood. Getting ready for the gym I put my shorts on backward. Then after fixing those I promptly put my shirt on backward. All I needed was to play ‘Jump’ and my Kriss Kross cosplay would have been complete.

4. It’s kind of funny how if you’re an adult and you turn on a kids’ show you are kind of like blah it’s baby stuff. However, if you turn on a kids’ show from when you were growing up you’re immediately engrossed in the highly important content it is sharing. I can watch 3-2-1 Contact from the 80s and feel like I’m learning but if I see Blues Clues & You and am like ‘man this is dumb.’

5. I watched a video on how to operate a new piece of technology we have at my work. At one point the man on the video said to sanitize some of the equipment you needed to submerge it in a diluted Hibiclens solution. I’d never heard of it. I actually thought he said ‘Hippie Cleanse.’ And yes I Googled it to see what it was. I thought I heard Google laughing at me once I hit ‘search.’

Not As Seen On TV

6. During the Halloween season I was always excited to see this one house on my way to work that had a 10-foot-tall skeleton in the front yard as part of the decorations. How did this person follow up that great scene? How about by writing some conspiracy theory garbage on his garage doors in black tape. I guess he’s celebrating a new holiday Nut Job Idiot Day.

7. Where I live there is a chunk of conservation land across the street. I tend to see a fair amount of wildlife like deer, turkeys, foxes, and owls. There are also a few coyotes. The other night while brushing my teeth I was looking out the window at dusk. I was sure I saw something walking up the driveway. Sure enough under the window passed a coyote. It was quickly followed by 3 more. They didn’t just pass through though, they were making tons of noise scurrying around in the leaves and bushes. Hopefully, no neighbors had pets outside. It’s like ringing the dinner bell.

Dramatization, the coyotes did not conga line through the yard.

8. A pet peeve I’ve had for a long time is when people grab some sort of food, whether a bag of chips in a sub shop, or like I saw today a bag of mini muffins, and begin to eat them before paying. Are you really lacking self-control so badly that you can’t even wait to pay for what you grabbed? You know there are people like that who eat some of what they grabbed and then don’t pay for it.

9. What would be worse? Talking to someone like they don’t understand what you’re saying? Or talking to someone like they should understand what you’re saying? I go back and forth when it comes to either speaking how I normally would or dumbing things down. I don’t want to over-explain something and make someone feel like I think they’re stupid, but I also don’t want to under-explain something and then make them feel bad if they don’t understand. It’s actually something I think about a lot when explaining technical health and fitness things to people.

10. I’ve had my car for 10 years. It’s been paid off for 3 ½ years. I’m hoping to have it for at least another 5 years to get to over 250K miles. I think it’s finally time to step up my bumper sticker game with it. I’m not saying I want 100 covering every inch of the back, but a couple dozen might be on the way. Nothing says class like tons of bumper stickers!

11. A beach near where I work has a bit of pavement that runs from the parking lot to the start of the beach. It makes the walk to the sand a little easier. On a fence post is a sign that tells you no vehicles are allowed on this 40-ish foot-long paved area. Because of course, some people are so stupid that they would see that and think it’s just another road. These are the same people who would do the stunts you see in commercials so advertisers have to put ‘do not attempt’ on the screen to avoid being sued by morons.
Because yes, people are that stupid.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

In My Footsteps Podcast Episode 144: The Crow 30th Anniversary; 1970s Diet/Exercise Fad Fails, Forgotten 80s MTV Shows, First McDonald's Restaurant(5-15-2024)


The 30th anniversary of the movie The Crow. Some amazing diet and exercise fad fails of the 1970s. MTV shows that came and went in the 1980s. The very first McDonald's restaurant.
Episode 144 will super-size your nostalgia cravings.
It kicks off with a look back at the movie The Crow on the week of its 30th anniversary. Marred somewhat by the tragic on-set death of star Brandon Lee this movie is a captivating story with a perfectly 90s soundtrack. We'll look at all of that and more in this segment.
Most people in their lives will struggle with their weight or overall health. Diets and exercise are the cure but can be boring at times. That being said some fitness fads of the past are not recommended for anyone. We go way Back In the Day this week to look at some diet and exercise fads that failed during the 1970s. You won't believe some of these were real.
Not all television shows can be hits. For every show that changes the entertainment landscape, countless fade away into the annals of history. As MTV was developing into a cultural phenomenon it tried many different show types. Some made it big, but on this week's Top 5 we'll look at those MTV shows that came and went in the 1980s.
The brand-new This Week In History and Time Capsule will look at the behemoth known as McDonald's as it celebrates the anniversary of the opening of its very first location.
For more great content become a subscriber on Patreon!

Helpful Links from this Episode

Listen to Episode 143 here 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

In Their Footsteps: Cape Cod History - The Shocking End of the Sitzmark II/Cinema Lounge

Is it possible for a location to be cursed? Many times truth is stranger than fiction.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, despite being still relatively low-key and laid back in the 2020s, has had its share of events in history that seem like they were ripped straight from popular television crime shows.

Fifty years ago a shocking crime rocked the Mid-Cape area. Those who were there will never forget. This is the story of the short life, and abrupt end of the Cinema Lounge, also known as Sitzmark II in West Harwich.

An article from Cape Codder newspaper about the fire.

The story of the Sitzmark II starts with owner Robert Fusco.

Fusco was born in Leominster, Massachusetts on April 20, 1942, and became a successful business owner at a young age. This began with his purchase of the Fairmont Cafe in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1967. At its peak, Fusco’s business enterprise included fifteen properties in Central Massachusetts as well as Cape Cod and Florida.

The Sitzmark restaurant and club first came to be in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Being a relatively short drive from Mount Wachusett it seemed appropriate to name the establishment Sitzmark as the word is defined as the impression a skier makes when falling into the snow backward.

As his business empire grew Fusco set his sights on Cape Cod. In late 1971 he found a perfect location for a second Sitzmark location on Route 28 on the Dennis Port/West Harwich line. Fusco leased 2.75 acres of land owned by Lillian Dowd.

A mortgage of $135,000($1 million in 2024) was taken out to develop a new eating and drinking establishment Fusco appropriately named Sitzmark II.

The story of Sitzmark II cannot be told without diving a little deeper into the property upon which it stood. This is where the story truly gets strange.

Located at approximately 10 Route 28 in West Harwich the property saw a string of failed businesses before and after. Curse might be a strong word but the multitude of failures are difficult to ignore.

Lillian Dowd had been running a laundry service on the property beginning in 1949. Known as Cape Self Service Laundry it was a fairly straightforward business venture. She lived in a home next door, across from what is today the Noble House restaurant. Her neighbor on the property was a nightclub known as Cape Towne House. This establishment had been open since the early 1950s and was located inside a renovated barn.

In an eerie bit of foreshadowing a fire in April 1956 destroyed the barn. The owners were undeterred and rebuilt thanks partially to Dowd leasing them another chunk of her property. Throughout the 1960s the Cape Towne House was a success.

The success was fleeting and Cape Towne House ultimately failed after losing its liquor license in 1968. Dowd, sensing an opportunity, opened a dance hall for teenagers in the former nightclub. She christened it The Embers.

The Embers catered to teens at first. However, Dowd purchased her own liquor license so as to appeal to the older crowd as well. The work proved exhausting and Dowd gave up the liquor license in August 1969 choosing to stick with the teenage dances.

In the end, The Embers did not last long. Thus Dowd was willing to sell the land, and her laundry business when Robert Fusco came calling in late 1971.

Sitzmark II began operating in the summer of 1972. It was a club offering live music, dancing, and cocktails. However, it also offered a breakfast and lunch menu in an area called The Third Door.

An advertisement for Sitzmark II from 1972(Barnstable Patriot)

Despite being a restaurant as well, the nightlife got Fusco’s new establishment into trouble. The law stated any noise from the building needed to remain confined to the property. In its first season, Sitzmark II was routinely cited for noise complaints from neighbors as well as overcrowding.

Rock bands, orchestra, dinner theater, and more entertained patrons at Sitzmark II. Eventually, the loud music drew the ire of Harwich selectmen who shut it down in 1973.

Fusco had no choice but to acquiesce to the town. He changed the name of the establishment to Cinema Lounge entering 1974 while also eliminating the loud music from the schedule. However, a new act brought in would permanently change the direction of the business.

For the 1974 summer Fusco hired a drag show called ‘All That Glitters Is Not Girls’ run by Karl Huston. The show was a massive hit drawing in thousands of customers with many more having to be turned away. That success again put Cinema Lounge in the cross-hairs of Harwich selectmen and the nearby West Harwich Baptist Church whose prejudice deemed the shows risque.

The thinly veiled homophobia was hardly disguised by the politicians. The show was classified by them as burlesque/strip which they said was not a part of the entertainment license for Fusco’s club. A local politician was quoted in the Cape Cod Standard-Times referring to the members of the drag show with a homophobic slur.

Even a seemingly positive article about the show in a local newspaper in June 1974 was rife with ignorant verbiage. It stated that ‘The idea of eight men parading around dressed, and often undressed, as women is stomach-turning to most normal heterosexuals.’

The majority of the clientele at the All That Glitters shows were elderly people. Karl Huston stated that these people seemed to enjoy the show with nobody complaining.

The summer of 1974 was a battle between Fusco and Harwich. In August the Cinema Lounge had its liquor license suspended. It then had its entertainment license revoked due to the All That Glitters show being purportedly wrongly classified as a ‘dance band.’ Fusco estimated the club lost in the range of $20,000($126,700 in 2024) in two days when the club was shut down on August 9th.

Bad press and closings took their toll on the business. Courts had already begun foreclosure proceedings against Cinema Lounge. Fusco was shocked by the level of fervor against his establishment. He stated at the time that Harwich was the only town in which he owned a business that he was subject to such harassment.

Huston and Fusco hired attorneys to sue the Town of Harwich for closing the show down. On August 21st Harwich selectmen reinstated the liquor license and issued a revised entertainment license to Cinema Lounge. A tentative reopening was slated for August 23rd. However, Fusco stated that even with the licenses reinstated the club’s time was drawing to a close. He had no idea how prophetic those words were.

Twenty-four hours later the Cinema Lounge was history.

The Cinema Lounge was destroyed.(Bing AI)

At roughly 11pm on August 22, 1974, a pair of nearly simultaneous explosions rocked the Cinema Lounge building. The explosions created a hole in the ground upon which the building crumbled and burned. It was virtually destroyed with the ensuing fire finishing the job. As the club was closed there was luckily nobody inside and nobody nearby was injured.

Calls flooded in from neighbors upon hearing the loud explosions. This was not a common occurrence on Cape Cod in the 1970s. The fire was so intense that there was not much the Harwich Fire Department could do upon arrival. Even as neighboring fire departments arrived it was difficult to get the blaze under control.

Immediately the circumstances surrounding the fire made it appear suspicious. Investigators noted there were no combustible materials stored in the building. The explosions and overall ferocity of the fire made arson the main theory.

Shortly after the fire Fusco and everyone associated with the Cinema Lounge were cleared of any involvement. Arson investigators suspected the fire was set by a professional. Someone entered the premises unbeknownst to the owners and placed the explosives that destroyed the building. It was referred to as ‘revenge arson.’ But who wanted revenge?

Who was behind the 'revenge arson' of the Cinema Lounge?(Bing AI)

Although a suspect was never officially named authorities stated that they knew exactly who it was. He was purported to be an underworld journeyman criminal. This suspect was connected to other horrific crimes like more arson and even murder. However, he would never be brought to justice. Only a short while after being suspected in the Cinema Lounge fire the man was himself murdered.

The question does still remain though. If it was ‘revenge arson’ who wanted revenge on Cinema Lounge and Robert Fusco?

In the aftermath of the destruction of the Cinema Lounge Fusco sold the land and moved on. This included a stint managing the Compass Lounge in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

The property remained vacant for years. At one point in 1984 chatter got loud about Burger King buying the property but it was shouted down by locals.

In a final surreal irony in March 1987 Lillian Dowd’s home on the eastern edge of the property was gutted by fire. Dowd had a cooking accident but still, it was yet another fire on that property. Cursed is a strong word but it is at least a series of interesting circumstances.

Where Sitzmark II/Cinema Lounge once stood in West Harwich.

Today the property on the Dennis/Harwich line is nondescript. It is home to the Harwich Antiques Center as well as a strip mall with a Domino’s Pizza. Virtually nothing remains of that short time when Robert Fusco ran the Sitzmark II and then Cinema Lounge.

The story when read sounds like something out of a movie. Multiple fires, battles with the town, and a final explosive fire set by an underworld criminal. No, it was not Hollywood, it was Cape Cod in the 1970s.