Saturday, June 29, 2013

David'Z RantZ ~~ Gesundheit!

Short and sweet this time, fellow babies! (Okay, okay, not so sweet...)

If someone says "Bless you" or "God bless you" after you sneeze, do you thank them? How about if they say "gesundheit," as I do? (I think it's extremely presumptuous to assume that God will bless someone who's a total stranger to me, simply because I asked Him to do so.)

I've found that whenever I say "gesundheit" -- as I did yesterday to a young woman who was sitting right next to me in the library -- people generally don't say "thank you."

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

David'Z RantZ ~~ Return of the Grammar Nazi

Nope, no Comical Wednesday entry today, fellow babies!

I've often said "Ya gotta love the internet," for various reasons, as appropriate.

However, thanks to improperly proofread emails, blogs, and websites, the following words have now become interchangeableat least, as far as how they appear in articles and other kinds of postings:

  • an/and
  • to/too
  • peak/peek
  • form/from
  • hugh/huge
  • advise/advice
  • breath/breathe
  • cloths/clothes
  • discreet/discrete
  • then/than
  • past/passed
  • were/where

Not to mention confusion concerning words like "loose" and "lose," "it's" and "its," "who's" and "whose," etc. In fact, I predict that the word "lose" (with that spelling) won't even exist in a decade or two!

"Intact" -- rendered as two words, "in tact" -- gets a category all its own.

The above examples are hardly exhaustive, just the ones that occur to me at the moment!

And spell-checker programs don't help, because they can't check your grammar. So misused words like "their," "there" and "they're" can squeak by easily.

Ever See This?

I halve a spelling checker,
It came with my pea see.
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I dew knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait aweigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the era rite
Its rarely ever wrong.

I've scent this massage threw it,
And I'm shore your pleased too no
Its letter prefect in every weigh;
My checker tolled me sew.

Or this?

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer
in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is
taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be
a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is
bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
wrod as a wlohe. Pettry amzanig huh?

That is kind of amazing. I have to wonder if it's really because "because the human mind does not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole," or if it's just that we as a society have learned to "translate," as it were, because we've just become so damned used to people on the internet who either 1) don't know how to spell and don't care, or 2) are too lazy or rushed (it can vary) to proofread what they've written before sending or posting it. Ha!

So, "Ya gotta love the internet?" Well, not always.

And don't worry, I don't want to sound too high-and-mighty. I make an occasional error myself! Damned shame, ain't it?

End of rant.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Physical Agitation

When I was in school, I wasn't the athletic type. (Which is not to suggest that I'm the athletic type now.) Neither was one of my good friends, named John. (We both kicked butt academically, though. Just sayin'.) We were always the last ones picked for baseball teams, football teams, volleyball teams... You get the picture. And even when we did something well we never got recognized for our achievement. Even a "Hey, you did good! Shocked the hell out of me!" from a teammate or a physical eduction teacher would have gone a long way. But... nope.

By the time we reached high school, John and I had developed the attitude of "If you can't beat 'em, screw 'em!" We purposely performed badly on the field, court, whatever.

One day in either our sophomore or junior year, John and I -- it seemed like we were always in the same "phys. ed." class -- were chosen to wrestle each other. This was freestyle wrestling, not what you'd see on the WWE (but you knew that anyway, I hope). John and I performed the wimpiest wrestling match ever. Our classmates were used to our antics, and they enjoyed the show. Needless to say, neither one of us "pinned" the other. The "gym teacher" scored John with two points, and myself with three. John and I both argued that I shouldn't have won.

Anyway, the school administration also required us to take "health" classes, which were presided over by the aforementioned gym teachers. John and I were only slightly better as students there, but we were still two wise-ass teenagers.

One day, we were learning about tourniquets, and that they should only be resorted to when it was a choice between saving the injured person's arm or leg, or his or her life. In fact, that was almost a mantra: "Only when it's a choice of the limb or the life." "The limb or the life." "The limb or the life."

So wouldn't you know, smartass David raised his hand and asked "If a guy got a really bad cut on his head, would you put a tourniquet around his neck?" I let that mental picture sink in, and got the expected positive reaction from the other students. I couldn't resist adding. "Well, if it's a choice between the limb or the life..."

That's where I'm ending this post, but don't think I used the first five paragraphs to build up to that last line, as I often do. It was too long a lead-in for too little a joke. Just felt like sharing some of my younger antics with you, fellow babies.

Any high school reminiscences you'd like to share, good or bad?

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

H-A-N-G-M-A-N ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

In late 1939, MLJ Magazines began producing comic books. The "MLJ" came from the first names of the company's founders, Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit and John L. Goldwater. This company still exists, but it is now called Archie Comics! And it's doubtful that they'd expose their audience to a hero known as The Hangman!

One of the superheroes in MLJ's Pep Comics was John Dickering, better known as The Comet. In 1941's Pep Comics #17, John's brother, Bob, was introduced, and The Comet himself was killed!

"Yeah, so?" you may be saying. "Characters die in comics all the time!" Well, not then they didn't. Hard to believe perhaps, but The Comet was the very first comic book superhero to be killed in the line of duty!

(And yeah, I know, the art kinda sucks...!)

Bob Dickering became The Hangman to take The Comet's place, and get revenge on the gangsters who killed his brother John.

With such an original -- dare I say innovative -- plotline, it's too bad that The Hangman -- well, his creators -- had to resort to a little theft when showing the origin of his costumed identity.

Sound familiar? If you're a comic fan, it should!

See? (Just so you know, Batman's origin was first shown in 1939's Detective Comics #33! So he definitely pre-dated The Hangman!)

Oh, well, imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery.

Or plaigiarism.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Only Fair!

Another brief one. (Not sure if I should label this as a "Comical Wednesday" post or not!)

Once again a certain neighbor from the north, namely Pat Hatt, has seen fit to include me in one of his posts. (Click here.) So I decided that, turnabout being fair play, I'd include a few panels from a 1946 comic book series called Mad Hatter, featuring a character which reminds me of Pat... for some reason.

Heh. Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Breakfast in Other Countries

An oyster omelet, known as a Hangtown Fry!

You know what I've always wondered? (Gonna tell you whether you do or not!)

Why don't ethnic restaurants -- Chinese, Italian, Mexican, etc. -- open earlier and feature breakfast menus? Is their idea of breakfast so close to ours in the USA that it's simply a case of "Why bother?"

I have several readers outside of the USA. Maybe they can answer that question for me if my "home-grown" readers can't.

I'd look it up myself, if I wasn't feeling so damned lazy today... hence the uncharacteristically short post.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ray Manzarek, 1939-2013, R.I.P.

Last Friday, while accessing an online obituary for Esther Williams, I learned of yet another death, one which had escaped my notice for two weeks! And so...

Ray Manzarek, best known as the keyboard player for The Doors, died on May 20th of this year. He was 74.

I was and am a huge fan of The Doors. Some of my readers, not so much. So I'm going to keep today's post relatively short and not regale you with all the reasons I appreciate that group! Suffice it to say that, in the years following Jim Morrison's death, I've enjoyed seeing Ray do whatever he could to keep the legend alive... and to keep the dollars rolling in as well!

Ray Manzarek in 2009

And now, for the personal slant I like to add to these tributes:

Before The Doors, Manzarek played in a group called Rick and the Ravens (Rick being Ray's brother). Manzarek was the vocalist, "Screamin' Ray Daniels"... which came from his birth name of Raymond Daniel Manczarek (note the "C"), Jr.

Rick and the Ravens only produced a very few 45s... and I owned the one pictured below -- a promotional copy, no less -- until fairly recently!

Below: A tribute from the Whiskey a Go Go. Before they made it big, The Doors were the house band at the Whiskey.


Thanks for your time.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Esther Williams, 1921-2013, R.I.P.

Two days ago, Esther Williams, the MGM swimming sensation known as "America's Mermaid", passed away. I don't have that much to say about her, other than the fact that I was a fan. The autographed photo of her on my bedroom wall -- not inscribed to me personally -- attests to that.

She was the star of several films in the 1940s and 1950s. Many of these films had "aquatic" titles, such as Neptune's Daughter, Million Dollar Mermaid, Dangerous When Wet, and Bathing Beauty.

Ms. Williams (via her movies, initially) did a lot to popularize swimming. In fact, after she retired from movies in the early 1960s, she became a businesswoman with her own line of swimwear as well as Esther Williams Swimming Pools. Both businesses continue to thrive.

A more recent shot...

How many actresses got to swim with Tom and Jerry?

And now, since I like to find a personal angle to these celebrity tributes...

Here's a little-known Esther Williams collectible. It's a photo of Ms. Williams when still in college, in 1940. (She'd originally hoped to enter the 1940 Olympics, but World War II dashed those hopes to the rocks!) So this magazine -- and yes, I have a copy, although not in as good a condition as the above photo -- was published before she was famous, and well before the start of her movie career.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Mister Named Monster! -- A "Comical Wednesday" Post

This is the second in a series of two posts about American comic book characters who have their roots in Canadian comic books. For part one, click here.
One of my favorite comic titles in the 1980s and beyond was a book about a character called Mr. Monster! Mr. Monster was the creation of Michael T. Gilbert, who usually wrote and usually drew the hero's adventures.

Mr. Monster generally eschewed time-honored methods of monster disposal -- silver bullets, wooden stakes, holy water, exorcisms, etc. -- and instead, often blasted away with two Colt .45s! Each story -- there were often two or more per issue -- featured plenty of slam-bang action, with a decidedly twisted, humorous slant. That doesn't mean that there weren't moments of poignancy, I must stress.

(It's a shame, by the way, that I can only tell you what charms certain comics hold or held for me, since I try to avoid fully reprinting copyrighted stories. I can only hope that, if you are a comic book fan, you'll seek out whatever I've mentioned... titles, characters, stories, artists, writers, etc.!)

And now, in order to avoid my usual long-windedness, I'll instead present a Mr. Monster cover gallery!

 A really fun issue, one I point to when people ask why I never "outgrew" comics!

A two-part crossover with the Airboy character.... One of the examples
of "poignancy" which I mentioned earlier. Highly recommended!

"But," you may be asking -- and even if you're not, I'm gonna tell you anyway -- "where did the idea for Mr. Monster come from?"

I'll let Michael T. Gilbert tell you himself!

"Mike Friedrich, my agent, got me a gig doing an eight-page story for another Pacific title, Vanguard Illustrated. The comic was an anthology with numerous features, and they told me to come up with a new character. Time was short, so I went to my trusty comic collection to see if anything there would spark my imagination. That’s when I found Mr. Monster. Actually, I found him a decade earlier at the 1971 New York Comic Convention, when I’d stumbled upon a coverless 1947 comic starring a weird monster-fighting hero called Mr. Monster, written and drawn by Fred Kelly, a Canadian cartoonist. I later found out that this comic, Super Duper Comics #3, featured the only full story starring the Golden Age Mr. Monster. It was printed by Bell Publishing, a Canadian company, shortly before they went out of business... I remember buying it for fifty cents and thinking, “Boy, this would be such a cool character to bring back!” Now I had the chance to do just that, only reinventing him for the 80s... And that’s how Mr. Monster began."

Here's a shot of Mr. Monster from the cover of 1947's Super Duper Comics #3! It may look a tad familiar, as that Super Duper Comics cover was also shown in our last installment

And here's one of the issues in which MTG established that
the 1947 Mr. Monster was the father of the current version!

Here, once again, is the cover to Super Duper Comics #3...

And here is the complete Mr. Monster story that inspired Michael T. Gilbert!

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

David'Z RantZ: "Our Time Is Valuable, Too!"


Whenever my primary care physician refers me to another doctor, I go through the same b.s.

Since I'm a new patient, I have to fill out all sorts of personal information.

However, each new doctor requires (mostly) the same information as did all those before him (or her).

Also, they often tell me that for my first visit with a doctor, I should show up half an hour before my appointment's actual scheduled time. So I should be there at 10:30 for an 11:00 appointment?

I don't think so.

If you want me at 10:30, schedule me for 10:30! Or better yet, why don't you all get together and save me that half hour -- my time is valuable, too -- by linking to one big computer system and having all that extra information you demand at your fingertips so I don't have to keep writing it. (It'll be my responsibility to update said information with each new doctor, if necessary.)

That way, instead of showing up early, I'll show up on time and give you a card showing my... oh, let's call it my Universal Medical Goo Goo Number! 

(A similar system could work for  those of us who need to fill out job applications. "Here's my Universal Goo Goo Number!" And if the job in question has any questions relating to this job itself, they can give me those questions on (probably) a 3" by 5" index card!


While I'm ranting about doctors, I've noticed that doctors have started charging patients for missed appointments, because the doctor's time is so valuable.

Wonder if I could get away with charging them whenever they keep me waiting half an hour or longer? I won't charge much, just... oh, let's say $25 per half hour that they keep me waiting.

Hey, it's only fair.

Thanks for your time.

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