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Goodbye Vampira

January 18, 2008 — 11:15 pm
Comments: 41

Vampira: really, REALLY dead this time

Maila Nurmi -- vampiraBehold, Maila Nurmi (1921-2008) — Vampira — who died last week in her Hollywood home of unknown causes. She was 87, so there’s a possible cause right there. You may know her from…well, probably just Plan 9 from Outer Space, unless you grew up in California. Her main gig was hostess of several TV creature features on the West coast.

I’m surprised she lasted as long as she did; I don’t think she could squeeze a sardine past that corset.

Maila was born in Finland, but moved to the dark, old world atmosphere of Ashtabula, Ohio when she was two. She arrived in Hollywood in 1938, where she did a lot of modeling and, probably, ‘modeling’ as well. She wore a gown inspired by Charles Addams to a costume ball in 1953, where she was spotted by a television producer. And the rest, as they say, is footnote.

In addition to Plan 9, she also had roles in other premium Hollywood productions, such as I Passed for White, Night of the Ghouls and Sex Kittens Go to College.

Fare thee well, Vampira! Let us hope — just once before she died — she had the strength to open her eyes, bolt upright in bed and scream, “psych!”

— 8:21 am
Comments: 13

Only $339.80* per megabyte!

10mb hard disk

More brain-hurty goodness from my \misc_images directory. I’m not sure when this is, but it references CP/M and Z80, so…1983, maybe? I bet that thing was the size of a cement block.

*Enas Yorl corrects my math, which was out — as usual — by a factor of ten.

January 17, 2008 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 16

As popular as Ringo!

jimmy olsen - redheaded beatle

Okay, okay…one more, then I stop. One of my favorites. 1964. You get the feeling even the antiquated old coot who came up with this cover knew that “as popular as Ringo” ranked right up there in the compliment universe with “as comfy as a supperating boil on your bottom.”

This was one of life’s most important early lessons, though, wasn’t it? No, no…not the supperating boil thing. That the scene on the cover of a comic generally had NOTHING WHATEVER to do with whatever went on inside, which was always more boring but made lots more sense.

Okay, maybe not in this comic: a criminal from the future steals a time machine but can’t operate the controls, so he autopilots it to 1964 to pick up Jimmy, who can…and they both go back to ancient Greece, where Jimmy supports himself making Beatle wigs out of wool. And then…I dunno. It got weird.

Speaking of special needs, Wikipedia says that after George Reeves shot himself (“died of a gunshot wound” as they delicately put it), the producers of the Adventures of Superman approached Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) with a series of his own. It would concentrate on Jimmy’s rise in the newspaper biz and feature a stunt double and old footage of Reeves. Larson, horrified, said no.

And thus an instant classic died a-borning.

January 16, 2008 — 6:42 pm
Comments: 19

Superman is a Freak Out — We Hate Money

jimmy olsenWas ever hippie philosophy more succinctly expressed than in this pithy couplet?

Pithy couplet. Heh heh.

In support of my thesis that mainstream comic artists couldn’t draw a hippie for beans, I present Issue 118 of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (1974). Note that Jimmy is dressed as…I’m going to say Walt Whitman. His lacy zoot suit is purple.

And check out ol’ Ben Franklin in the background there. The Money Hate guy. He’s wearing the remains of a three-piece suit with trouser legs hemmed castaway-style. I bet that’s the artist’s deadbeat friend.

“Dude, I totally drew you as a hippie on the cover of this month’s Jimmy Olsen!”


This is pretty much a step up for Jimmy. In this series, he’s usually cross-dressing or trying to kill Superman, or both. Why he’s actually Superman’s pal doesn’t bear thinking of.

Today’s episode is brought to you by the airport lurgy that is still kicking my ass.

January 15, 2008 — 5:56 pm
Comments: 8

Cool it, man! You had your chance!

the prez

It occurs to me that, while I’ve been absorbed in the presidential race, I haven’t posted anything about it. So meet Prez Rickard, first teenage President of the United States (well, sure they amended the Constitution first — do you think DC don’t know their civics?) Superpowers: Executive authority, veto, unarmed hand-to-hand combat.

His mom named him Prez hoping he’d be president some day. In gratitude, he made her vice president. Okay, I realize that last bit is pretty implausible. Hey, it’s a comic.

Prez made it to four issues, from 1973 to 1974, and made cameo appearances in several later comics. According to Wikipedia, he ultimately dies of a brain tumor “aggravated by the dishonesty of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.” You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at that one.

The comics never really figured out how to draw hippies, did they? They were always like Beatniks, but with kicky Florence Henderson style wigs. Way too much daddy-o and not enough groovy.

As I remember it, there was a bit of anxiety that stupid shit like this might happen after the 26th Amendment passed in 1971. The following election — and every election afterward — was going to be swung at the last minute by the “youth vote.” Heh. A “youth vote” that never materializes. The 18 to 24 demographic is consistently a no-show.

Stupid hippies.

January 14, 2008 — 2:43 pm
Comments: 20

The weaselbone connected to the hambone

january 121, 2008

January 11, 2008 — 11:25 pm
Comments: 41

Alas, poor Stoaty

weasel skull

Fate has not ceased to take large and fulsome dumps upon the head of an innocent weasel. Oh, no. Woke up this morning with a vile cold; the timing is perfect to make it an airplane bug. Thank you, thank you. Please, sir, may I have some more?

This here thing is, indeed, a weasel skull. Isn’t eBay wonderful?

I’ve got a cow orker who collects skulls. Buys them on eBay. Really, seriously, the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, but a little henpecked. So he doesn’t tell his wife that he buys them. She wouldn’t like it. And he doesn’t tell anybody else in the office. He has that much sense.

Just me.

I am the secret repository of the knowledge that Richard has a skull collection hidden in his basement. And now you are, too.

I’m not easy about this. I’m, like, “dude…please. Promise me you aren’t making an altar down there.”

He swears he’s not. He shares with me his skull cleaning and refinishing secrets. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I guess. There are some who swear by boiling, and them as owe their allegiance to beetles. There’s matte paint and shiny paint and clear varnish.

He leans in my cubicle, gives me the thumbs up and whispers happily, “gazelle! Forty bucks! Three teeth missing and one little hole in the temple!”

I’m thinking it’s a pheromone. A secret, stealthy eau de nutball that makes ’em come sniffing ’round my back door.

Of course, that wouldn’t explain you people.

— 6:51 pm
Comments: 16

Weasel Acres

weasel acres

Here we go. I promised McGoo I’d rustle up a pitcher. This is Weasel Acres, several years back. I don’t think publishing this picture reveals enough information to hunt me down like a dog. Ummm…does it? If I’m wrong, just…please don’t hunt me down like a dog. Kthxbai.

This is a classic Cape Cod house (usually abbreviated to ‘Cape house’ hereabouts). Not a style I grew up with, of course, but one I’ve grown fond of. A Cape house is a cottage, generally a story-and-a-half high, with a steeply pitched front roof, a sloping back roof and a dormer stuck out the back. They’re small — under 2,000 square feet. The gabled windows are a 20th C addition.

Mine was built in the Spring of 1942. How do I know? A surveyor told me what to look for: you lift the porcelain cover on the back of the toilet and fine the date stamped in the tank. They don’t stockpile toilets, so the house will have been built within a couple of months of that date.

It wasn’t my first choice. The house I yearned for was in Pawtucket (where all the horriblest limericks come from); a long, low one-story house with a Dutch roof. It had silly classical columns and swirly stucco walls in the livingroom, and the master bathroom had a basin sink and tiles in vivid porcelain purples and greens. It was the most startling and improbably ugly house I have ever seen. I fell in love with it instantly. Sad to say, my offer was rejected.

That still smarts.

January 10, 2008 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 17

But enough about me…

HANK: Luanne, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Now there’s two ways you can deal with it. You can cry — and that’s the path you’ve chosen — or you can not cry.
LUANNE: How do you not cry?
HANK: Well, instead of letting it out, try holding it in. Every time you have a feeling, just stick it into a little pit inside your stomach and never let it out.
LUANNE (trying it): Are you supposed to have a pain under your rib?
HANK: Yes. That’s natural. The body doesn’t want to swallow its emotions. But now you go ahead and put that pain inside your stomach too.
LUANNE: I think it’s workin’, Uncle Hank. I feel sick, but not sad.

               — King of the Hill “Luanne’s Saga”

I’ve hardly been back 48 hours and I’m already bored stiff with my own whinging. Whinging. That’s Britspeak for “being a pussy.” AKA “big girl’s blouse.”

Okay, I don’t really get that one. Is it, like, “big girl’s blouse” or “big girl’s blouse“?

I do not know! Anyway, this moving thing has got me downer than down, but I’ll try not to be so much of a one. Big girl’s whatever. Must keep eyes on prize: a life of indolence and drunkenness undreamt-of since the ancient Boneless Empress of Upper Boozistan. Shhhh…don’t tell Uncle B!

Hey, how ’bout that Hillary Clinton?

January 9, 2008 — 11:52 pm
Comments: 17