Friday, July 30, 2010

A Whale of a Tale

(Okay, my computer now operates courtesy of Ubuntu, rather than Windows XP. In short, fellow babies... I'm back.)

By now, it should be no secret to any of the long-time readers of this blog that I am fascinated by the story of Moby Dick, the far-famed, fictitious white whale pursued by Captain Ahab. And by "story," I mean the novel itself, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (and ya gotta love that only-in-the-title hyphen), several filmed versions which I've seen (and own), and numerous comic book adaptations which I own as well. I even own a copy of a "stamp book" (don't ask) which I had as a child.

A few years back, I wrote an article for a local newspaper which told about my childhood obsession for the story of Moby Dick while also telling of my participation in the New Bedford Whaling Museum's annual "Moby Dick Marathon," where readers of all ages come from various points of the globe to read the novel aloud, a section at a time. (That particular task takes twenty-five hours, by the way.) One of my earliest posts on this blog reprinted that article, which filled half of the newspaper's page, and if you missed that post back in 2008 and want to read it now, go here.

I have a large collection of books and films about whaling, plus other whaling memorabilia as well. Some of that stuff dates back to the 1800s. I could go on and on -- and I know, usually I do just that -- but you've endured enough introductory crap for now.

Today's post is specifically going to showcase my two favorite comic book adaptations... and by "favorites," I don't mean best-written, and/or best-illustrated. I mean "favorites" in the sense that they're the coolest to me in terms of all the Moby-Dick comic adaptations cluttering the Silver Fox's "den." And they're tied for first place, as it were.

During the year of my birth, 1956, an impressive film adaptation was released, directed by John Huston and starring Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, Orson Welles, and many others. Dell Comics came out with a comic book version of the film in their varied & celebrated Four Color series (#717). I think the cover, combining a photo of Mr. Peck as Ahab, and a background painting, is simply striking!

(But... guys? Where's the effin' whale?)

The second comic book is the 1950 Feature Presentations Magazine #6, the cover of which was illustrated by comic great Wallace Wood, early in his career. The copy I now own is in absolutely gorgeous shape, although I must admit that the scan below (as well as the scan of Dell's Four Color #717) was culled from the internet.

I received this gem as a gift from my close friend Paul Howley, owner of That's Entertainment, the Eisner Award-winning "pop culture emporium" which was my alma mater in the field of comics retailing. And hey, to end this on a light note, I'm gonna reproduce the postscript from my blog about the Moby Dick Marathon here, in case you decide not to follow the link which I provided above (This did not appear in the original newspaper article, of course!):

Okay, now, if a person who is a fan (maybe, even, to the point of obsession) of the Grateful Dead is a "Dead Head"... What would you call someone who -- like myself -- is a fan (maybe, even, to the point of obsession) of the novel Moby-Dick?

Just a rhetorical question, really. I just wanted to say it before someone else came up with it. Heh. 

That's all for now, except... I swear I didn't realize this before a minute ago, while I was perusing the site to the New Bedford Whaling Museum which I linked to above, but August first, only two days from now, is the 191st anniversary of Herman Melville's birth! Who'da thunk it?

Thanks for your time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

While You're Waiting...

As it says in the title of today's post... While you're waiting for my PC issues to get resolved, if you find you have a ton of time on your hands, go read this. (And at the end of each chapter, just click on "newer post.")

I'm my own worst critic, but this is one story of mine which I heartily recommend. (Plus, you get to learn all sorts of juicy facts about the "real" me, not the "Silver Fox," nor the "Foxster" of Simpson/Lynch Studios, nor even the David of David'Z RantZ.)

I ask one favor, however: Pleasepleaseplease feel free to leave a comment on any chapter(s) you feel deserving of receiving one! One, two, all twenty-eight... I love the feedback on this particular story because it is/was such a personal project. Please don't think "Oh, this was posted two years ago, no sense commenting now."

And yeah, I admit it. I'm a "comment whore."

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Great Timing!

Unfortunately, just as my writing partner Skip Simpson deleted his own blog -- I'd link to it, but there's nothing to link to -- my PC got infected with a Trojan that can potentially corrupt my Google account through any and all Google access points... my Gmail addresses, Google Chrome (my "browser of choice"), YouTube, and worst of all, Blogger.

I don't dare access any of that from my so-called "good" computer.

I'm stuck writing on my old, "turtle" PC, which takes forever to do anything.

It'll be at least a week before this problem is (hopefully) fixed. In the meantime, I'll probably access the 'net from the public library, with rare exceptions (and that'll be primarily to keep up with email). So there will probably be very few new postings from me here, or on Simpson/Lynch Studios, until further notice. So it goes.

(Hm. Used the word "access" an awful lot here today, didn't I?)

Thanks for your time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tracking the Silver Fox

On my blogs, I often refer to several towns and cities in my area of Massachusetts. In case you're the type -- and I can think of maybe two or three of you that would be -- who likes to put things in perspective (literally), here's a map showing my current town, and those surrounding it which are occasionally or often mentioned here and on my old David'Z RantZ blog.

Some quick examples (in absolutely no particular order) of how these towns are "important" would include:

Oxford -- Grew up and went to school here. Learned to love the abridged, "children's" version of the novel Moby-Dick here, thanks to Oxford's public library. Features prominently in the earliest chapters of My Island.

Webster -- Where I live now.

Sutton -- I lived on a farm here for the first two years of my life, and actually have a handful of memories from here.

Auburn -- My Dad grew up there, my parents lived there for a while after they married, and Diana from Auburn features prominently in almost all of My Island.

Worcester -- Ahhh, the nearest "big city!" It's pronounced "Wooster," not "Woostah," and there's no freakin' H in the word. Lots of references to it, and not only in My Island. The home of one of my favorite jobs ever, a comic book shop and "pop culture emporium" known as That's Entertainment. Also figures prominently in my highly-recommended multi-parter about the most dangerous "research" project I ever did.

Charlton -- Lots of drinking done there during my late adolescence. Lots of back-road "parking" done there with various young ladies during my late adolescence. In other words... lots of great memories there from my late adolescence.

Southbridge -- The town I can never seem to "escape" from. I lived here for several years and never really liked it. I was engaged twice to women who lived here. My sister lives here. My mother lived here off and on for the last few years of her life. Southbridge was the home of my last full-time "Crappy Day Job," and it's where my current, not-crappy part-time job is. Constant references to it on this blog and David'Z RantZ. Figures prominently in most of the later chapters of My Island.

Just another quick note: Living in Massachusetts does not mean I live anywhere near Boston -- I'm about an hour's drive away -- and I do not sound like one of the Kennedys when I talk. I even pronounce the Rs at the end of my words! Who'da thunk it?

Now, I know some of you may be saying, "Geez, David, why didn't you just give us all a map right to your home? Aren't you worried that someone's going to track you down after reading this?"

Oh, please. Would you want to show up, unannounced and unwanted, on the doorstep of someone who'll greet you like this?

Didn't think so.

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

David'Z RantZ ~~ Crikey, Mel! Enough Is Enough!

If there's any justice in this world -- and there probably isn't -- Mel Gibson should have fewer remaining fans than this blog has readers.

Here's the latest news...

And if that's not enough for you, there's always this.

Ordinarily, I try to keep my feelings about a celebrity's personal life or politics separate from my appreciation for his or her "art."

However, having said that, I'm never going to put another dollar in this bigoted, abusive, misogynistic man's pocket if I can help it.

Sorry, I forgot the jokes today.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Skipping Out!

Well (as Jack Benny would have said)! After all these months, my close friend and writing partner, Skip Simpson, has decided to close... and eventually, completely delete... his solo blog, Skip's Stuff.

He called me Thursday night to tell me about it, and assured me that he won't be quitting our joint blog, Simpson/Lynch Studios, although he will probably be contributing to that a bit less. We'll see.

But in the meantime, fellow babies:

Skip's having a going-out-of-business yard sale, which you can see by clicking on this link and scoping out his sidebar! Woo-HOO!

I myself managed to pick up a few nifty items, including the painting of Skip's lady love, Sandy, which cost me a bundle and now adorns my sidebar.

The only thing not for sale yet is that picture of "me" which adorns Skip's blog. I wanna buy this before someone thinks it's really what I look like!

And here's good news, for the two or three of you SnL die-hards who still care: I also managed to purchase the rights to a few select Skip's Stuff posts -- about two dozen -- which I integrated into the Simpson/Lynch Studios blog! (So if I temporarily screwed up your Blogroll by having it show "new" SnL posts that supposedly published in 2009, that's why!) There, you'll find essential bits showing how we developed the Skipster and Foxster characters & storylines, and I -- well, the Simpson/Lynch team, technically -- even purchased the rights to the Soused Chef character!

(Of course, those were purchased with money from the Simpson/Lynch Studios joint fund, which means half of it came from Skip himself... but don't tell him that, okay?)

And in case you're wondering where I got the money to make all these crazy buys on such short notice, I paid Skip with the below-pictured bills, taken from my own collection:

Of course, at first, I simply hoped Skip wouldn't realize I'd cheated him  would know I was just trying to be funny, but then he told me that in Alabama, they still use Confederate currency.

Damn. I coulda bought the Old Fenneman Estate for myself, instead of the Foxster!

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

David'Z RantZ -- The Revenge of the "Short Shorts"

1: Don't Blame Me!

It's true, I haven't posted in over two weeks -- not counting a chapter of WHO'S WHO in PLEASANTVIEW and the section I contributed to the latest chapter of Spy Guys, both on the Simpson/Lynch Studios blog -- but it's not my fault.

No, really.

Blame Prince.

You know, Prince? Or as I call him, "The Artist Formerly Known As the Artist Formerly Known As Prince."

He has been quoted as saying "The Internet's completely over."

So, assuming that he's right, why should I -- or anyone else -- ever blog again?

He goes on to purple-rain on the internet parade by saying, "Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

Right. That, from the guy who f**ked over the English language with song titles like "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "I Would Die 4 U." (Emphasis mine.)

(And "thanx and a tippo" to Skip Simpson for sending me that "Princely" link in the first place.)

2. I HATE Being Wrong!

Yesterday, the local oldies radio station to which I listen kept mentioning that July 7th was the seventieth birthday of Ringo Starr, known far and wide as "Mr. Conductor" on Shining Time Station... as well as for his participation in an obscure little band called The Beetles, or Beatles, or something like that.

Okay, no messing around, here. Let's get serious. I thought July 7th, 2010, was Ringo's seventy-first birthday. And until I did a quick internet search to "prove" myself right, I'd "known" for years that Ringo -- the oldest Beatle -- was born in 1939, while John Lennon was born in 1940, Paul McCartney in 1942, and George Harrison in 1943.

Well! I was right in believing that Ringo was the oldest Beatle, but as it turns out, he and John Lennon were both born in 1940.

I hereby place a thousand curses on the original source of my misinformation... wherever it originated, many years ago, probably when I was a kid, and the Beatles were still together! For me to screw up musical trivia about something so very basic is... well, it's almost as bad as misspelling Elvis Presley's name as "Alvis." Unforgivable!

Crap. I hate being wrong. I hate it!

3. I LOVE Betty White!

When I was a little kid in the 1960s, Betty White was a frequent guest on numerous TV game shows, including Password (hosted by her late husband, Allen Ludden). She also served as an ever-smiling, sickeningly-sweet co-host to various televised holiday parades.

But then, in the 1970s, the folks behind The Mary Tyler Moore Show wanted someone to play a parody of a "Betty White type," and thus was born the character of Sue Ann Nivens, the "Happy Homemaker," played by Betty White herself!

Well, as I've stated on my blogs several times before -- and don't worry, I'm not gonna throw any "linky things" at you here, fellow babies -- I've always appreciated anyone who doesn't take themselves too seriously. Therefore, from that point on, I became a Betty White fan, and have enjoyed her in everything from The Golden Girls to her recurring appearances on Boston Legal.

And hey, I'm not the only one who loves her! Just listen to what Sandra Bullock says about working with Betty on the recent film, The Proposal!

Umm... okay... Bad example, maybe. But I still think Betty's great.

Here's even more proof that Betty doesn't take her "sweetness & light" persona seriously. I have to give a major profanity/obscenity alert to this brief clip, but... come on. It's Betty White. Watch it. You know you want to!

You go, girl!

Thanks for your time.

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