Monday, December 22, 2008

The Best Television of 2008 Part 1

This will be a reoccurring series of posts as I recall what I caught on the TV Eye this past year that moved me, inspired me, and made an impact that still hums loudly and truthfully in my mind. In no particular order:
Lost: "The Constant." Originally aired February 28, 2008. Time travel is a central theme of this series, but never has it been used to ramp up the emotional stakes as seen in this episode (which was indeed award-worthy for both an intricate script by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindel and lead performance by Henry Ian Cusick). I won't bother to give a synopsis here, since Lost fandom has already obsessively done so at this link. I will say that anyone who caught this episode remembers it vividly as a high water mark of the fourth season that mixes suspense, romance and mind-bending temporal theory.
Mad Men: "The Wheel." Originally aired October 18, 2007. Okay, I know this technically isn't a 2008 show, but later in 2008 is when I first saw it and was moved to tears. I'm not sure watching the 13th episode season finale would work out of context, but I caught Season One in rapid order thanks to the magic of the Tivo and it totally floored me for a sequence that was heart-wrenching. Advertising executive Don Draper mines his own family photo album and un-admitted (until this moment) internal fears to pitch Kodak on how to sell their then-new slide projector. The Kodak crew have been calling the device "the wheel," until Don renames it accordingly.
As Jon Hamm as Draper delivers the monologue reproduced below, he clicks from slide to slide to accent his selling points ... tracking his life backwards as he (and we - the viewers) realizes that perhaps he does indeed love his wife, his children, and this life he has created for himself, and quite possibly has lost them forever. The editing is simple, the pictures used grainy and fully carrying that captured in the moment "family photo" look, and the musical underscore here is devastatingly sad.
One of several Mad Men scripts nominated this year for an Emmy award (the winner was the Mad Men pilot, which was also brilliant and again makes me think that the season finale has the greater emotional resonance only if watched in the proper order at the end of show - frankly, if Mad Men has not seen a second season, this would have worked as a series finale as well), this was simply put unforgettable ... with an ending that was equally so in terms of placing Draper in a life that he had (once again) created for himself.
DON:Technology is a glittering lure, but there's the rare occasion that the public can be engaged at a level beyond flash, that they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job, I was in-house at a fur company with this old pro copywriter, a Greek named Teddy, and Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is 'new.' Creates an itch — you simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. But he also talked about a deeper bond with the product — nostalgia. It's delicate but potent … Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means 'the pain from an old wound.' It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship. It's a time machine. Goes backward, forward, takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called 'the wheel' — it's called 'the carousel.' It lets us travel the way a child travels, around and around and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Atari 2600 Cartridges Forever

IGN is reporting that The Venture Bros. Season Three DVD set will be arriving sometime in the upcoming New Year. While this year's 13 episodes were a mixed bag (High Points: "The Buddy System," "What Goes Down, Must Go Up," and "Now Museum, Now You Don't" - Low Points: "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman," and "Tears of a Sea Cow"), only a series as twisted as this would have a season premiere that focused exclusively on the fates of the arch-villain and his hot wife without nary a sighting of Hank or Dean, the so-called "heroes" of the show. Oh, and you simply have to love the retro packaging ... "Yar's Revenge," anyone?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lots ... Big Lots

Just an F.Y.I to fellow James Bond aficionados who don't fancy paying $$$ for their Bond DVDs ... the Big Lots retail chain is currently selling the ENTIRE series from Dr. No through Die Another Day (basically, every Bond film until Daniel's Craig's debut in Casino Royale) for a mere $4.00 each. Sure, these aren't Blu-Ray discs, nor the recent 2-disc sets with yet even more fine-tuning in the way of remastered picture and sound, but since the majority of the Bonds I already owned came from these initial "Special Edition" releases from MGM, my collection is now complete for under $20.00.

Frankly, Octopussy isn't even worth the $4.00 I just paid (see this previous entry of Bond as a literal Clown ... this after he swings from a jungle vine and gives a Tarzan yell and NO I AM NOT MAKING THAT LAST PART UP). Oh, and an extra "shout out" to the hacks within the MGM art department for the ghastly photoshopped cover. Nothing says license to kill like a ghoulish Roger Moore standing before a hellish landscape of fire, a helicopter, and some turrets. The original movie poster would have been a vastly superior choice. Both are shown below for your viewing pleasure.

Mascots Amuse Me

Okay, I'll admit it - I have a love of massively-headed anthropomorphic mascots. I'm not so much as interested in ones from the sports world as I am the ones who roam theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Carowinds, King's Dominion, Six Flags, and so on ... but until then, this slide show of "Mascots Gone Wild" (sorry - none of them go topless or bottomless, darn the luck) will have to suffice. Thanks to the corporate overlords over at for the swiped photo link below.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sneaking In The Back Door?

As a writer of licensed property tie-in projects both famous (most recently Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Back 2 Africa), and obscure, I find the tone and quotes in this article insulting (please click the link and go read before continuing to enjoy my rant).

"Sneaked in the back door of publishing as a writer-for-hire," is how Judy Blundell categorized her career as an author before the publication of her first non-licensed novel. I'm not disputing the merit of the book (after all, it did win the National Book Award for Young People's Literature), but apparently she doesn't look upon the 100 or so books written up to this point favorably, choosing to use a pseudonym instead of her own name to sign the work.

I imagine doing so has hurt me at times, but I've always used my real name on projects. The only time a pseudonym has been on the cover of something I've written is due to the publisher (as in the case of the Deathlands novels I wrote under the house name of "James Axler"). I do agree with Blundell about "losing your writer's voice" by continually toiling in the creative houses of licensed properties, but I hardly see shame in the work done there either. Good work is good work, and should be recognized as such.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Six Degrees of Ron Howard's Hairpiece

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

The Many Humiliations of Illya Kuryakin Part 1

... See the glum expression being worn by our pal Illya in the cover photo? Perhaps he is sad at having his head confined in a tiny box, while fellow agent Napoleon Solo gets the full body glory shot, but I think it is because he read the script for this issue and wonders what fresh indignities will be thrust upon him next within the U.N.C.L.E. organization.

Don't feel bad, Illya. James Bond also has clown make-up on his resume (although I think you remain the only member of the 1960's spy fraternity to be shot out of a cannon). As witnessed in both story and cover blurb of Gold Key's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. #13.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

He's A Rock - It - Man!

Most lovers of hammy actors who also like to sing (but should never have gone near a recording studio) have heard or seen Big Bill Shatner's take on Elton John's Rocket Man, right? A combination of low-tech video special effects and a disintegrating tuxedo - who needs a malfunctioning transporter to deliver multiple Shatners?

But ... have you seen TV cult fave Chris Eliott's take on the tune (and the performance)? Chris answers the question "Can a parody of a performance that was already a parody the moment it aired still be funny?" with a resounding, "Affirmative!"

And finally, here's Stewie Griffin's attempt to out-Shatner Shatner. Talk about in-jokes most teenagers wouldn't get (which does dispel the notion that Family Guy is aimed exclusively at adolescent males). Same goes for all of those musical comedy gags and references as well!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reason Number 288 ...

...why William Shatner will always be my all-time favorite actor.

Meeting John Waters

Taken September 21, 2006 at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro, North Carolina. JW looks dapper (as always) after spending two solid hours discussing his life, career, films and other topics of interest on stage. Waters once had actor Steve Buscemi pose for his annual Christmas Card mailing as "John Waters," but I think a receding hairline that has revealed an incredibly elongated forehead puts him more into looking like a sinister Don Knotts. He also looks oh so tiny next to the lumbering mass o' moi in this photo. If I look worse for wear, it is because I had taught a middle school English class all day before making the drive into downtown G'boro for the event. Not caught by the camera is my freshly signed first edition of Waters' book of essays, Shock Value, which I discovered eons ago at a used bookstore near Mims, Florida. My love of Waters isn't driven by his legendary film career, but rather from his writing (go figure) ... an oddity that I equate with my love of the music of The Monkees, but indifference to the television show. I think both have to do with how I discovered both Waters and Papa Nez, Davy, Peter and Micky - Waters via his first book (before seeing any of the movies), and the pre-fab four via their albums (after having dismissed the series as a kid).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trek Talk

Decent enough interview with the screenplay writers for the new Trek movie, although the interviewer comes across as a total gibbering schmuck (which is typical these days with web-based interviews, I'm sorry to say). Still, sounds like Kurtzman and Orci did their homework, and one of them is actually a hardcore Star Trek fan to boot. I have high hopes for the storyline, since this is the same team who wrote some of the best episodes of Alias (another one of my past television passions).

Cute Canine Alert!

This is Sophie, a recent Surry Animal Rescue girl who has the most adorable eyebrows on a dog I have ever seen. She is blessed with two tan Andy Rooney-like tufts that gives her upper forehead and humble eyes an amazing depth of expression. She's sweet, gentle and has a peaceful soul ... and I think I'm in love. Too bad she's already been promised to my sister-in-law, and will soon be traveling up North to live in Massachusetts. Here's hoping I can negotiate for visitation rights....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cool Books You Won't Find At Wal-Mart #2

Age of TV Heroes
The Live-Action Adventures of
Your Favorite Comic Book Characters
by Jason Hofius and George Khoury

Actually, as of this writing, you can't find this book ANYWHERE (the release date isn't until December 17, 2008), but check out that line-up on the cover! George Reeves, Adam West, Lynda Carter and Jackson Bostwick in their super-hero guises that inspired comic book fans throughout the 1950s to the present day as painted by Alex Ross.

Inside are interviews with the actors, producers, writers and creators who translated both Marvel and DC heroes alike into living icons for lovers of adventure and fantasy. Thrill to the memories of Nick Hammond (a.k.a. Spider-Man), John Wesley Shipp (The Flash) and even the current voice of Brock Samson himself, Patrick Warburton (or, as he was in his live-action incarnation, The Tick)!

A friend recently asked me if I ever get excited about anything these days ... well, here's something exciting, and we're all going to have to wait until Christmas to open our present!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oddest MSN Banner Ever

This one speaks for itself. Trust me when I say it is the real deal straight to you from the homepage, and has been unaltered by yours truly in any form or fashion. I suppose clicking it took you to some strange health article, but I'm still trying to figure out the juxtaposition with the male enlarged breasts "bonus" feature.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stuff About Poe ...

... as written in a "round robin biographical recall" by my 11th graders:

  1. Poe had a very bad childhood.

  2. He was cursed.

  3. His real mother & wife died at the age of 24.

  4. His step-father didn't like him.

  5. His last name was Poe.

  6. Poe was 40 years old when he died.

  7. He wrote short stories.

  8. Poe lived in Richmond, VA.

  9. He's dead.

  10. His middle name of Allan was not used until after his death.

  11. He wrote "The Raven."

  12. Poe was most famous for his horror stories.

  13. Poe's horrible life was the reason for the horror stories.

  14. He was weird.

  15. Poe's mother and wife died of TB.

  16. He joined the military.

  17. Hooked up with his 13-year-old cousin.

  18. He had a weird looking mustache.

  19. Poe could not hold his booze.

  20. He liked writing better than I did.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What Are You Currently Reading?

Yes, I know Banned Books Week ends today ... all the more important to keep awareness of it alive for the other 51 weeks of the year.

So, with that in mind ... go here to get the basics.

Then, read a column about how "lucky" we are in this part of North Carolina not to have major issues with book banners and their ilk (ah, apathy ...).

For a good chuckle, enjoy the list of books that then-Mayor Sarah Palin supposedly wanted banned from the Wasilla Public Library (the laugh comes from imagining Palin actually reading even a tenth of these books that made the fake hit list).

And finally, in honor of Banned Books Week, here' s a quick quiz.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Toons In 3-Dimensions

Check out this amazing flickr set of View-Master slides courtesy of Matt Hinrichs ... quite simply put, these are some of the most beautiful sculptures of animated images you'll ever see.

Hey, I Wrote That!

Meant to post this at the first of the month instead of the end, but here's the latest book to appear with my byline, as well as my first title from the fine folks at Capstone Press.

Available in both a hardcover "library binding" and a softcover edition for those of us on a budget. Of course, if one believes what one reads on, they are both the same price. Yes, the listings for both versions of The FBI (Cartoon Nation) are riddled with errors such as having the wrong product description, two authors instead of one (Terry and Collins), incorrect creator bios and a listed page count of 2,660 (instead of the correct 32)!

I sent amazon a list of corrections just a few moments ago, but have my doubts how long they will take to appear. Click the book cover if you're curious to see for yourself! ADDENDUM: In less than 24 hours, did correct the author's name, but the rest of the errors still stand. Stay tuned for further details (although I must confess to feeling positively like Thomas Pynchon at the thought of crafting a 2,660 page book on the FBI - and a book for young readers at that)!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Ride Home

"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight of the dark movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home."

After teaching the novel The Outsiders for two years, 150 students, and eight middle school classes, I was always saddened when the kids in my charge had no idea who Paul Newman was ... I might well have been talking about obscure stage actors of the 1800's as opposed to an iconic, and, until recently, still active screen presence of the last fifty years. Cultural awareness of this latest generation is a sad state of affairs - which is even more surprising when one considers that teens today have access to more information than any generation before them, and yet seem more blissfully unaware of anything going back further than five years.

So when reading of Newman's death today, I wondered if any of the middle school kids I taught who are now in freshmen and sophomores in high school might have taken pause to remember Ponyboy's opening (and closing) lines from S.E. Hinton's book.

Perhaps. When bringing the middle schoolers up to speed with a list of movies such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, and The Sting that got me blank stares in return, the only one that ever clicked for them was, ironically, Newman's voice work as Doc Hudson in Cars.

From what I know of Newman, I think he would have liked that....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Found Footage Festival 2008 Preview!

Anyone who knows me, also knows I love awkward local cable access singing and dancing performances when mashed together with equally surreal corporate training videos.
Sound bizarre? Oh, absolutely. But for now, let this preview (complete with wrestlers!) whet your appetite for the simple insanity of the Found Footage Festival (2008 edition).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sammy Sings Seltzer Songs!

By this time in the Candy Man's illustrious career, he was singing anything and everything to maintain his lavish cocaine-fueled California lifestyle, as evidenced by this commercial cash-in oddity (possibly free with any purchase of Alka Seltzer). Does anyone out there have a digital download of Sammy warbling "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz?" (Hold on ... just did a search, and yes, someone does have the tune in question!)
So click the LP Cover and dig Scattin' Sammy's swinging seltzer soiree!

Monday, August 11, 2008

TV's Frank Waxes On Comic-Con

Writer, performer and generally genial guy Frank Conniff (late of MST3K and Sabrina the Teenage Witch) blogs about this year's Sandy Eggo Comic-Con, and mirrors my own thoughts about funny book-inspired movies and television shows. Check it out by clicking above on Frank's shiny white cowlick!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Born Under Punches

Glenn Erickson, the mind and voice of DVD Savant, recently posted his thoughts at on the lost art of the fight scene in modern-day movie making. I agree with most of his sentiments (while The Dark Knight has much to recommend it, the action sequences are confusing and impossible to follow - I dare anyone to keep up with the opening conflict in the parking deck upon a first viewing), and his six choices for classic movie "fights."

My addition to his list of classics comes from the obscure 1980 thriller Defiance, with Jan Michael-Vincent. I caught this at the Bright Leaf Drive-In on a double bill and recall little of the plot (something about a gang of hoods trying to drive Danny Aiello and other hapless cast members out of their apartment building), but vividly remember the climatic brutal battle between Vincent's ex-marine and the head of the gang.

My friends and myself were amazed at how "realistic" it seemed when compared to most movie fights. The two were bloodied, uncivilized, and used an array of unsporting-like and simply mean techniques as they bashed each other ... even staying entangled down a flight of stairs. To this day, I can't think of being impacted by any other filmed fight in such a manner. Highly recommended, and worth tracking down for a look (which sadly is not on DVD, but readily available via bootleg).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Live Action Big Boy

Straight from the kitchens of Shoney's and the San Diego Con, I present to you ...

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Monday, July 21, 2008

Steve's Back!

Yay! Steve and "The Sneeze" is back after a long absence!
Click the link! Go! Read! Laugh!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I fear I have long forgotten where I snagged this Silver-Age Justice League of America panel (my apologies to the online wit who discovered it first), but it is simply too funny not to share.
Be sure and click the image for maximum readability!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Winged Black Super-Hero!

Mego shout out this past week in the newest episode of The Venture Bros!

Doctor Orpheus shows off his new prototype action figures for "The Order of the Triad" to his teammates Jefferson Twilight and the Alchemist. Both are suitably impressed ("Merchandising! That's where the money's at!") until being told Hasbro turned down their proposal.

Still, Jefferson is impressed with the customization work: "Did you sculpt them yourself?"

Orpheus: "Oh, heavens no! Yours is an old repainted Mego Falcon."

The Alchemist figure was, amusingly, a "Spock with a bald spot."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bigfoot Entry of the Day

I'm currently researching everyone's favorite missing link for a book project, which is leading me to some interesting articles and features that I'll be sharing in upcoming weeks. The photo below of Lee Majors in an odd-choice of porn star mustache, an obviously embarrassed Lindsay Wagoner and Ted "Lurch" Cassidy in a ratty Grizzly Adams beard and matching bearskin rug, is my quintessential memory of Bigfoot in the 1970s.

If you click the photo, it will take you to an article about not only Sasquatch, but also bionics and real-world applications! The author even name checks In Search Of ...!

Fun fact: The bionic version of 'the Foot' is what my father used to terrorize my baby sister into going to bed or otherwise behaving in the mid-seventies! Amusingly, Bigfoot went on to become an almost mythical presence -- like a furry tooth fairy or monster under the bed in our household.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Selection of Books Finished in Recent Months

Soon I Will Be Invincible
Deconstructive super-heroism as recommended by Jackson Publick (co-creator of The Venture Bros.). I ended up coming away feeling about this book the same way I did about the movie Hancock. Amazing first half that addresses tried and true super-hero material in a new way, a middling second half that loses focus and, perhaps, tries too hard to make a ‘grand statement,’ and an ending that, while still shaky, still manages to ultimately redeem the material.

The Alchemist
A fife-affirming fable about finding what you think you really want, and how to respond when you do. Recommended.

Wally’s World
Depressing biography of comic book artist Wally Wood. Overwritten in several places, but well researched and done with love. Even with several (SEVERAL) chapters devoted to comic book history and filling-in-the-blanks of the industry for non-comics readers, this remains a “for fans only” tome.

Heartbreaking young adult novel based on a true story about the relationship between a troubled teen and an elderly man suffering from cerebral palsy. This one will make you cry (I did).

Batman: Hush Returns
A poorly written and drawn collection of Batman comic book stories centering on the villain Hush and his vendetta against the Dark Knight. The Joker subplot is the only thing that makes the volume redeemable, but even that uses chunks of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke as the basis. Everything that is "bad" about modern-day Batman comics.

Superman: Red Son Rising
Surprisingly effective Elseworlds take on the Superman saga as filtered through a Communist Russia lens.

The Boy Detective Fails
The most impressive novel I’ve read in several years. Deconstructs the notion of the “boy sleuth” by revealing his sad middle age, the fates of his foes, and the final mystery involving his mystery-solving sister. Being someone who adored the Three Investigators and Encyclopedia Brown, this book spoke to me on a series of levels.

And Then We Came To The End
An amusing and touching look at 90’s corporate America. Not as good as the hype would have you believe, but well worth reading if you have ever worked in a cube or dealt with middle-management types.

Born Standing Up
Steve Martin bears all in regards to his stand-up career, with time spent on his formative years as a child, and the rich career in movies and literature brought to him via hard work and focused applications of talent. Martin is amazing – find this in the audio book form if you can to fully appreciate how well written a bio this truly is.

DC Guide To Action Figures
Lots of photos, very little text, and a total waste of time.

Fargo Rock City
Heavy metal dreams as filtered through the twisted sensibility of the American Midwest’s own Chuck Klosterman.

Killing Yourself To Live
More Chuck Klosterman. A reflective journey across America searching out meaning from ‘death sites’ of famous musicians and how it applies to his own life.

A thought provoking look at human perception, information retrieval and retention of same … you’ll never “see” the world around you again in the same way.

I Am America (And So Can You)
Stephen Colbert and a horde of television writers bring his “message” to the masses. Amusing, but not as nearly good as The Daily Show’s take on the American History textbook America.

Wonderful non-fiction that actually makes economics and numbers a viable, living presence. A book that will truly "make you think." Witty and recommended

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hey, I Wrote That!

Feel the Thunder! Kung Fu Panda Coloring and Activity Books from Kappa Publishing are on sale now! Choose from three 32 page originals ("Go Po!" "Panda-Monium" and "Kung Fu Crew") with a beginning, middle and end as I wrote 'em or go for the extra value meal that mashes the trio into two new 96 page configurations with extra pages written for a fourth unpublished book. I personally recommend "Go Po!" as my favorite of the trio. Be warned that the larger books don't flow as logically as their shorter cousins and come minus the bonus goodies (tattoos, stickers and the like) found in the glossier and shorter versions.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Running Men & Promo Discs

Just some interesting blog and blog entries while catching up on my reading tonight: Allison Morris on the overuse and misuse of book cover silhouettes and Ina Steiner on the latest eBay nonsense.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lost In Hollywood

So, once again, a television property is taken into the hands of what passes for creativity in Hollywood these days and given the "Superstar" treatment ... this time, via the rapidly slowing down, yet still formidable Will Farrell comedy express.

The awful I-Spy ... the wretched Wild Wild West (minus the "The" in the title of the series) ... the feh-factor of The Avengers. -- craptacular and unwatchable wastes of time that shrived up to a squeaking husk when placed next to the originals, and are best left forgotten.

Next up before the box office executioner is my beloved 1970s childhood friend, Land of the Lost ... which, despite the under budgeted special effects and wince-inducing acting, was never designed as a show "for kids." With science fiction writers like David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana on board, the series was heady stuff with a detailed mythology and logic that crushed the rest of the sci-fi and fantasy live-action tripe hoisted on the Saturday-Morning set (Jason of Star Command, anyone? Ark II?).

Of course, the folks in charge of this movie remake seem to think they are making a comedy. Even the director says, "There is a sense of humor that I loved from the original show ..."

Are we talking about the same series? All our director is recalling are the surface details of a show with no budget shot under the time constrictions of kid-vid. There is no recognition of actually having watched the series. Frankly, smirking at shitty blue-screen work doesn't take a lot of wit.

Land of the Lost wasn't Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Dr. Shinker or Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, okay? The show was played earnestly and straight ... not campy and stupid. Remaking LOTL as a comedy makes about as much sense has giving us a deadly serious Get Smart (a TV remake that actually looks watchable, since the powers-that-be appear to be adhering to the spirit of the show).

Unfortunately, this is one movie remake that is actually being made ... unlike the never-produced Jim Carrey yuk-fest of The Six Million Dollar Man (shudders). And, since we don't want Will Ferrell as a daddy, we get him hamming it up with a stand-up comedian and a hot babe instead of a son and daughter.

Jesus God. Didn't Bewitched teach Ferrell anything?
Still, they got one thing right ... check out the Sleestak!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Welcome To The Grid

Has your Internet been running slow as of recent ...? Click the graphic to learn about what might speed things along in the near future.

(Somehow, I sense my future is going to be spent buying new computer equipment and paying higher prices for faster connections ...).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Night of the Lepus

My niece and nephew enjoy a recent visit with the Easter Bunny ....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cool Books You Won't Find At Wal-Mart #1

'Life Of The Party'
A Visual History of S.S. Adams
Makers of Pranks & Magic For 100 Years

And here, I present to you a pop culture tome of essential reading fun for kids of all ages.

Here are all of the mondo-keen goodies from the back pages of the comics of our pasts ... goodies that we either sent away for and were disappointed with upon arrival ... or wish we had sent away for, never did, and were still disappointed over, because we always wondered what we had missed!

Featured in full color are the actual items themselves, as gazed upon in dime stores and truck stops by a multitude of children. Gags, jokes, tricks and novelities .., along with rarities, original store branding and ads, letters, trivia, company history and much much more.

Hardcover, 200 pages, and oversized at a generous 9" by 12" ... just from the sample pages alone, this is a sumptous treat that will bring back a calvacade of memories. Author Kirk Demarais has created an amazing piece of printed shared memory.

Why such an undertaking of love seems to be a well-kept secret is beyond me, but I am delighted to have discovered it all the same.

Click on the GLOP to be swept away to where you can order a copy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Soylent Green Is Made Out Of Heston ...

I have a love/hate relationship with Big Chuck ... his politics in recent decades were appalling, but I loved watching him gnash his teeth in Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and that eternal touchstone of my youthful CBS Late Night Movie viewing days, The Omega Man.

Don't forget, Charlton Heston is also the guy who gave Orson Welles his last chance to make a Hollywood financed movie resulting in the late noir masterpiece Touch of Evil, feuded with, and yet backed Sam Peckinpah against the studio in regards to Major Dundee and was still gracious enough in his declining health to give an interview to Michael Moore in Bowling For Columbine that was as uncomfortable to watch as you might imagine (and I like Moore).

So, like I say ... love/hate. The thing to remember, as always, is to reflect upon and relish the work and not the actor (or writer, or director).

Horrible way for such a virile actor to die however, that's for damn sure.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Whoopie Once! Whoopie Twice!

Today, I'm flashing back to 1975.

I was eight years old, and if memory serves, was exposed to the animated "Really Rosie" as a syndicated special. The half hour video adapted the poetry and artwork of Maurice Sendak, best known then and now for Where The Wild Things Are. In less than 30 minutes, a short series of books called The Nutshell Library was set to music and performed by the legendary Carole King.

For decades afterwards, songs such as "One Was Johnny" and Chicken Soup With Rice," were lodged in my head.

Flash forward to last year on a trip to Massachusetts, when I was able to pick up a copy of the special on VHS in a used book store. Said video was filed away, with my thinking I would enjoy it again when the time was right.

Today, the time was right. I had a half-hour hole in my lesson plan on poetry, so I screened the video for my eighth grade middle school classes (I teach English, by the way) to reinforce the concepts of alliteration and rhyme.

I wasn't sure the admittedly dated animation would hold some of the attention of today's kids ... but, amazingly enough, all of my blocks were well-behaved, and seemed to really enjoy the special! There was no sleeping, and talking was non-existant. A pleasant surprise, and one that helped me to remember that even today's jaded teens are still children in so many ways....

Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't Make Me Angry ....

Having watched every single one of these episodes as a kid during the original run of the series, I remember thinking that David Banner was the clumsiest man I'd ever seen on television. I mean, the character of Banner made Soupy Sales look like the epitome of grace ... but the Soupster never uttered lines such as "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAN!" with anything close to the gusto of Bill Bixby.

So, click ol' Greenskin to enjoy a list of every single indignity suffered by Dr. David Banner that caused him to slip in a pair of white contact lenses, shred his shirt, and "Hulk Out."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Carton of Hate & A Wedge of Spite

I have to confess that I have eased off the throttle of the collecting train in recent years, but at times there are toys that demand to be purchased and enjoyed.

Case in point, these wonderful replicas of
Evan Dorkin's mayhem loving dairy products, Milk and Cheese.

They are the perfect additions to my custom M&C color illustration where they burn down my beloved Mayberry and urinate on the grave of Otis Campbell. One of these days, I'll get a good color scan of said scene (obtained in a Fisher-Price Ferris Wheel toy-trade with Evan years ago) and slap it up for all to enjoy, but for now use your imagination.

As far as I know, I actually have all of the M&C merchandise (what little there is), such as the figural magnet, the magnet set and the trading cards.

As for the Milk and Cheese Vinyl Figures set, see the photo below. These retail for $69.99 off the
Slave Labor website, but can be found for $20.00 less on eBay (which is where I got mine).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Morning Haiku

Friday Morning, February 15

Bitter cold morning
The dawn sky is pink coral
Frost adorns the world