Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Great Minds Think Alike," Part One ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

Welcome to the latest installment of our sporadic feature, "Comical Wednesday," fellow babies! For those of you who are unfamiliar with "Comical Wednesday," it consists of articles about comic books, comic strips, or both.

For today's post, I'll be offering the first chapter of an eventual three-parter called "Great Minds Think Alike." It'll touch upon three instances in comic history where two similar characters or groups of characters debuted in such a short span of time, it ensured that neither was copied from the other.

To begin today's "lesson," I'd like to tell you about two comic characters named Dennis the Menace. Now, that name may conjure up one of two very different images (both shown above).

If you're British, Dennis is a dark-haired chap whose original persona was rather vicious. That's when he first appeared in the pages of The Beano, issue 452, dated March 17th of 1951. This Dennis was created by Beano editor Ian Chisholm and artist Davey Law.

If you live in the USA, as I do, you may be familiar with an entirely different Dennis the Menace, one introduced in the comic strips five days earlier, on March 12, 1951! This Dennis was created by writer/artist Hank Ketcham and named after Ketcham's son Dennis. The USA's version was more of a "mischief-maker" than an actual troublemaker.

In the interests of an unaccustomed brevity (for me), I'm going to spare you a lengthy entry on the UK Dennis or his American counterpart. If you'd like more information on the British brat, click here, and if you'd like to read up on the USA's Dennis Mitchell. click here.

Don't worry, I'll make up for my "short-windedness" in my next two chapters! (But don't hold your breath waiting for them.) See you then.

Thanks for your time, and Happy New Year (for those who care about that sort of thing)!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Feel Free to Use This...

There are three little goals I have every year, starting in October and ending in December.

1. I try to make it through the Halloween "season" without hearing "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett. I like the song, but after 50+ years, I'm sick of it.

2. I try to get through the Christmas season without hearing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." The first half-dozen times or so that I heard it, those long years ago, it was cute. Now, not so much.

3. I try to get through the last few weeks of the year without having anyone say "See you next year!" to me. That one's really annoying.

Needless to say, every year my "survival rate" for all three sucks, because I have such little control over each.

However, this year, I came up with a handy-dandy reply to #3, one which I give you permission to use:

"Not if I kill you, now."

As I said, feel free to quote me... if you tell people where you heard it.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

For the Holidays

Just because I have white hair and a beard does NOT mean I like being compared to Santa Claus. Keep those comparisons to yourself. And I'm not the only one who feels that way. Keep that in mind, fellow babies, before you say something similar to any bearded, white-haired gent. And don't try to push it by saying "But you should take it as a compliment! Everyone loves Santa Claus!" or remarks like that.

(If you really want to give it a positive spin, offer the guy a job as Santa on the spot.)

Anyway, I was feeling decidedly UN-Santa-ish four years ago today when I posted the following original poem. Please excuse the grammatically-incorrect line, "I'm not him!":

I'm not Santy Claus!
You can call me Anti-Claus!
Don't bunch up your panties, 'cause...
I'm not him!

Going quite insane, here.
Love to cause you pain, dear!
What's for breakfast? Reindeer!
(I'm not him.)

I see you when you're sleeping,
I know when you're awake,
I see you when you're naked,
So give that tail a shake!

Lumps of coal to all o'you.
Anti-Claus will follow you,
Eat you up, and swallow you!
I'm not "him!"

Ask for toys, you'll get a slap.
Don't give me that "giving" crap,
And put yo' Mama on my lap!
I'm not him!

I deleted a reference to the TSA which was a lot funnier then -- it was more timely four years ago -- believe me.

If you want to read the original post, which included more holiday stuff, click here. If, instead, you'd like to see a whole sleigh-full of YouTube videos (and a few dead links) for the 2009 season, and some lengthy ruminations on Christmas songs in general, click here instead.

Or don't click on either link. Just don't tell me.

So, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to those of you who celebrate something, anything, this time of year. That includes Pagans, Muslims, Jews... even atheists and agnostics. (Some of them enjoy the holiday season, too, ya know!)

I'm the one on the right. On the right, I said!

Thanks for your time, fellow babies.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joe Cocker, 1944-2014, R.I.P.

Singer Joe Cocker has died at age 70, after a battle with lung cancer.
Like many of us, I first became aware of Joe Cocker's work shortly after he appeared at Woodstock in 1969. No one who's heard his version of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends" will ever forget it.

I remained a fan of Mr. Cocker's as long as he remained on the charts, and after.
There was a lot of talk about the strange gestures Cocker used when he performed. After a close look at the film of his antics at Woodstock, it appeared to me that what he was actually doing was playing air guitar. I was curious as to why I'd never seen that referenced anywhere. (I'm sure it was, and that I missed it. After all, even I can't read everything.)
But if it'll make you feel any better, this article about Cocker's death did mention that he was playing air guitar, and "air piano" as well!
I'd like to close this brief tribute piece with something rather uplifting. It has to be seen to be appreciated!

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Five Years Gone

I'm participating in this week's Sepia Saturday, and just squeaked by under the prompt photo's theme, which is that of "families, festivities, trees, candles and wine." So I guess that keeps me from being a Sepia Scrooge.

I'd like to do a little tribute to my mother, who passed away five years ago today (December 20th) at the age of ninety-two.

For a year or so, after she died, I'd do little pieces based on the fact of her loss. The first Mother's Day without her, the first birthday she wasn't here to celebrate with us, etc.  Then I suggested to myself that I should stop being so maudlin and attempt to get on with my life.

But I thought that, for this five-year "anniversary" of sorts, my readers would excuse me if I published one more little remembrance of the woman who raised me.
My mother was born Anita Hartman on October 20th, 1917. And, as I've said before...

There were more technological advances during the span of my mother's life than I could list, even in a post of my usual entry's length...

My mom lived to see high-definition, flat-screen televisions. When she was born, radio hadn't even entered its golden age. Commercial air travel hadn't even gotten off the ground... errr... so to speak. And I could go on.

...but I won't.

I'm just going to share a few photos of my mother, spanning roughly 92 years.

The earliest existing photo of Anita
Hartman (center), at approximately age 3.

(Close-up of same.)

Mom at roughly 41/2, being held by her older sister Josie.

Mom's rather unusual haircut above was "designed" by my
mom herself, on a day when she ran amok with a pair of scissors.

Yearbook senior photo, 1935

Mom's autograph, from that same yearbook, a yearbook my mother never owned.

Mom and Dad on their wedding day, September 28th, 1940.

Circa 1943

Mom and Grammy Josephine, mid-1950s. Photo taken by my young sister, Kathy, hence the upward angle.

Mom at approximately fifty, late 1960s.

And the above photo is one of my favorites of my mother!

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Bad, Bad Idea

I love coffee.

I like potato chips.

Recently, someone gave me a bag of the Cappuccino-flavored potato chips shown above. (I never would have bought a bag!)

I made the mistake of trying them, skeptical though I was.

Never again!

They're vile, fellow babies, vile!!!

As today's post title says, this was a bad, bad idea.

Shame on you, Lay's.

Thanks for your time. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Quick Question

Why the hell do some bloggers sign up to follow their own blogs???

I mean, don't you know when you post?

If you're one of them, please tell me! I really wanna know!

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's Wrong with This Picture?

The above-pictured postcard showed up in my sister's mail several weeks ago.

Now, I realize that these companies target endless numbers of families, and the names are computer-generated, but really...

”Lynch” is not a Polish name!

If the card had offered “Irish Apparel JUST FOR YOU!” it wouldn't have surprised me a bit. (In fact, I've received mailings like that in the past.)

So next time, guys, have your computer do its homework.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Angus Lennie, 1930-2014, R.I.P.

Long-time readers of this blog – meaning those who've been with me since last Thursday or so – may recall my claiming to have a rather unique “kiss of death” power when it comes to various celebrities.
Here's how it works:

 Every so often, I'll think about some celebrity – actor, singer, politician – who hasn't crossed my mind in years. And I'll wonder whatever happened to him or her. Well, with the handy-dandy nature of the internet, it's easy enough to do a quick search and find out whatever did happen to him or her.

Unfortunately, in the great majority of those instances, I'll learn that the celebrity in question has died. Recently.

Or, in a similar vein, I'll be watching a DVD of some old movie or tv show and wonder whatever happened to an actor or actress. Then I do an internet search on him or her, and again, discover that the person in question has passed away. Recently.

It's almost as if my sudden interest in a person either causes their death, or perhaps is in response to their death. I'm kidding, of course, kinda/sorta, but sometimes I wonder!

Anyway, the other night I was watching my DVD of 1963's The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and an impressive ensemble cast.

The first time I ever saw that movie, it was in the late 1960s, a few years after its 1963 release. It was broadcast in two parts, on consecutive evenings, on the NBC network. Part One ended dramatically with the attempted escape and machine-gunning to death of a character named Archibald Ives, nicknamed "the Mole."

Ives was played by Angus Lennie.

Ives the Mole was probably Lennie's best-known role during his long career, although he also appeared in the cast of the British soap opera Crossroads from 1974 to 1981... so my British readers may also know him from there.

Wouldn't you know it, but just a few nights ago, as I watched the movie, I wondered whatever became of Mr. Lennie. After all, the movie was made 51 years ago, and those who played most of the principal characters -- McQueen, Garner, James Coburn, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, even director John Sturges -- are no longer with us.

So on a whim, I did a Google search for Angus Lennie, only to find -- you guessed it -- that he had passed away on September 14. Recently.

Anyway I decided to write a rather long-winded post about the death of "Ives," whose cinematic demise made such an impression upon my young self... and to spin the tale once again about my tendency to "off" celebrities!

Thanks for your time.
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