Monday, December 31, 2018

Ohhh, NOW I Get It! (A "Short Shorts"/"Grammar Nazi" Post)

1. A couple of weeks or so ago, the USA's President Trump came in for some teasing on Twitter after posting a Tweet using the term “Boarder Wall” to refer to his proposed border wall on the US/Mexican... uhhh... border. You know, the one that he says will stop illegal immigration... because everybody knows that almost all illegal immigrants in the USA are Mexicans, right? And this wall will completely secure our boarder... errr, border.

He made this mistake twice.

Or was it a mistake? Y'see, despite all the Tweets ridiculing his alleged misspelling, and despite this very entertaining article, I'm going to give the prez the benefit of the doubt and say he meant just that. Boarder.

Here's my theory. Perhaps the biggest (loudest?) of Trump's promises during his campaign for president was that he was going to have a wall built and that Mexico would pay for it.

So here's what I think he's going to do. ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), or the INS (United States Immigration and Naturalization Service), or... whoever... is going to round up all of the illegal immigrants (and as stated above, almost every damned one of 'em is a Mexican) and force them all to work (for free) on constructing his wall. So, in effect, Mexico will be paying for it.

Those illegal Mexican immigrants will be allowed to stay in the United States only as long as it takes them to build Trump's wall, after which they'll be deported to Mexico. (And since the wall will indeed be completed by then, we know they'll never be able to come back.) While they're living here, we'll house them for free, but we'll still consider them "boarders."

Therefore, the wall will be – say it with me – a “boarder wall.”

(And by the way, when I say “all of the illegal immigrants” I mean every able-bodied adult among them, male and female. Not their children, of course.

Which is a good thing, cuz they probably can't even find those poor kids at this point.)

1a. By the way, the second article I linked to above – "Your President Is a Dullard Who Confuses Homophones" – contains this great quote that I wish I had written myself: There’s nothing like seeing a great meme on Facebook or Twitter and being unwilling to share it because the person put “there” when they meant “their” or “your” when they meant “you’re” or “hear” when they meant “here” or some such nonsense. It is a frustrating daily occurrence on the internet, and even the “president” of the United States is not immune from it.

Oh, and I didn't call the article “great” just because it included a sentence I might have said.

1b. When I tried, once again, to find the article I just quoted from, I threw the terms "Donald Trump," "Boarder Wall," and "confused homophones" into the search box... and I learned that a disturbingly large amount of articles online use the word "homophone" to talk about people who don't like gays. Really? Seriously? I would have thought that anyone even familiar with the word "homophone" would be above making that sort of mistake. I guess not.

2. So, President Trump is talking about bringing the troops back from Syria, and maybe Afghanistan, and Lord knows where else by the time this article posts. And I know the real reason why. He's going to station every damned one of 'em in a huge circle around the White House, so when the FBI or whoever finally come to "get him," he'll be protected.

3. Tens of thousands of federal inmates will be released, according to this source and many others. And President Trump is evidently all for it.

Isn't this the guy who was so worried about all those Mexican criminals? Oh, wait. These are going to be "low-level" inmates, the type of criminal in minimum security prisons, or so-called "country club" prisons.

You know... the kinds of prisons guys like Donald Trump end up in.

4. Recently, NBC was accused of dispensing "Fake News" because they printed an article about the president which evidently was true when they printed it, but was rendered untrue by President Trump's actions only a few hours later. The situation is analyzed here.

I'm so sick of people -- especially DJT -- talking about "Fake News." The Prez seems to throw that term at anyone who doesn't think he's as wonderful as... well.. as he thinks he is.

In my tribute post to Bill Dana on June 21, 2017, I wrote:

At my flea market stand, one of the items I have for sale is the album pictured below, José Jimenez in Orbit (Bill Dana on Earth). Just last Sunday, my display of this LP prompted not one, but two conversations about Bill Dana. One was with a gentleman who assumed that Mr. Dana was dead, but I promptly corrected him, informing him that the comedian, now ninety-two, was still alive. And as far as I knew, I was right; the news outlets had yet to report that Bill Dana had died on Thursday, the 15th.

Was I lying? No, of course not.

To me, there's a big difference between lying and making a mistake. Even the news media shouldn't always be expected to get their stories straight. People make mistakes, even when they have the best of intentions.

And intent is what's at the heart of situations like these. If you ask a three-year-old "What's two and two?" and he says "Nine," is he lying? No. And if you ask him "What's six divided by three?" and he replies "Thursday?", again, is he lying?

I never received a test after it had been graded by a teacher where the teacher had written "Three wrong, David. You LIED THREE TIMES!"

That's not how it works.

The President, on the other hand? Lies constantly. Several times every day. Several times every day. There are websites devoted to counting all of his deliberate falsehoods. Their lists are staggering. And they only list the ones they know about.

It's like the old joke, "How do you know when a lawyer is lying?" "His lips are moving." The same could be said about Donald Trump.

5. I'm far from the only person to see a resemblance between Stephen Miller and Josef Goebbels. (Do a Google search, and you'll see.)

But they don't really resemble each other all that much.

It's not their looks I'm comparing, though. It's their general attitude, especially where immigrants are concerned, and where the power of the president is concerned as well. You'd never guess that Miller is descended from Jewish immigrants, would you? Well, read this article... written by his own uncle.

6. Okay, now you know why I so rarely do political posts.

7. And I promise I'll try to get better about following your posts, and soon!

8. And... Happy New Year!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Everyone knows A Charlie Brown Christmas, right? Well, maybe you recall a few years back, when someone put together the following video, using a song that, when it was popular, I literally heard every time a car drove by me and I could hear what was playing on its radio! (And I mean "literally" literally, like it should be used, not figuratively!)

That's all I had time for this year, fellow babies. My "Comical Wednesday" post will show up next week, although I may post something not related to comic books this weekend!

Merry Christmas to all of you, and for all of you who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Whatever-You-DO-Celebrate!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Terrificon 2018, Part Three ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post... on a Thursday!?!

So, since I'm still "recovering," I'll see how quickly I can get Part Three of my report on Terrificon 2018 written. I plan to lean a lot on illustrations!

I suppose the real "star" of this convention, if there was one, was neither a celebrity nor a comic book professional. No, it would be a fictional character named Thanos, who's been in comics since 1973, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as far back as 2012.

Actually, Thanos' first comic book appearance was in Iron Man #55, which was cover-dated February, 1973. Therefore, that issue actually hit the stands in late 1972, if it matters. The movie-going public is most familiar with Thanos as the main baddie of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.

I will spare you all a lengthy & detailed history of the villain, both in the comics and movies as well as the behind-the-scenes stuff involving his creation by writer/artist Jim Starlin. I figure, if you're a comic book and/or movie buff who really cares, you know most or all of that stuff already. And if you don't particularly care... Why should I bother? Heh.

I will, however, give you a look at a Jim Starlin sketch of Thanos which was drawn before Thanos ever appeared in a Marvel comic!

When first introduced, Thanos mainly fought Marvel's original Captain Marvel character (whose comic book I did not read). He returned a while later to fight Adam Warlock, in a far-reaching saga that saw the deaths of both Adam Warlock and Thanos himself.

By the way, back in the early-to-mid-1970s, Jim Starlin occasionally drew self-portraits in his comic stories. Here are only two of them:

Earlier, I mentioned the "deaths" of both Thanos and Adam Warlock. However, these being comic books, so-called "dead" characters have a tendency to return. Thankfully, Jim Starlin had returned to Marvel, so he brought them both back to life -- no one else could, realistically -- in early 1990, in the pages of Silver Surfer, a title for which Starlin had assumed the writing chores.

From the pages of Silver Surfer, Thanos bounced from a terrific two-issue mini-series The Thanos Quest to its immediate and equally terrific follow-up, The Infinity Gauntlet. This led to The Infinity War, then The Infinity Crusade, and between then and now, multiple series, mini-series, and one-shots with such titles as (in no particular order) Infinity Countdown, Infinity, Guardians of Infinity, Infinity Crusade, Thanos, Thanos Infinity Siblings, Thanos: The Infinity Conflict, Infinity Abyss, Thanos: The Infinity Relativity, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, Warlock and the Infinity Watch, The Thanos Imperative... Tired yet? I am! So even though there are even more, I'm not gonna list 'em!

In my not-so-humble opinion, they should have put every damned one of them under an umbrella title like The Infinity Cash Cow!

Now here's the way Mr. Starlin looks roughly forty years later:

Not only was Jim Starlin himself at Terrificon 2018, but so were many other pencillers and inkers who've worked with the character of Thanos, usually in stories written by Starlin.

One of the inkers was John  Beatty. I had him sign one of the comics I'd brought, which I'll show you later, for reasons which will be apparent... uhhh... later.

Another inker was Joe Rubinstein, who inked some of the issues of The Infinity Gauntlet.

I had him sign issue #6, one of the issues he did.

But even though they worked on The Infinity Gauntlet too, I did not get the autographs of either writer Starlin or penciller Ron Lim on this particular comic, mainly to save myself a little money!

Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that Joe had also inked the Captain America issues reprinted in the graphic novel that I'd had signed by Roger Stern (as told here), or I would have had Joe sign the graphic novel, too!

Another professional I approached was artist Ron Lim, who's penciled several storylines concerning Thanos, including the Starlin-written issues of Silver Surfer which reintroduced Thanos and Adam Warlock to the Marvel Universe.

One of the comics I had Ron autograph was Silver Surfer #50, the issue with the glitzy silver foil embossed cover. (I didn't have Starlin, its writer, sign this one. I had other books for him to sign, as you'll see later!)

Oh, I should point out that that pale white line that bisects my scan of the cover is not a crease. It's a glitch in my scanner!

Friday evening, John and I attended the "Forging the Infinity Gauntlet" panel with (from left to right) Ron Lim, Jim Starlin, Joe Rubinstein, and (if the Terrificon program was correct) panel host John Siuntres. It was a terrific (pun intended) prelude for the next day, when John and I actually planned to meet Jim Starlin himself!

I was so glad that nobody asked Starlin how he felt that Marvel was making zillions off of characters and concepts which he created, but Marvel owns. Personally, I can only hope, although not assume, that whenever Jim writes something involving Thanos nowadays, Marvel pays him something commensurate with his (Starlin's) true value to the company.

The next day, John and I arrived rather early, but in no time at all, the line to see Jim Starlin (who hadn't yet arrived) looked like this:

Once he had arrived, and I got to meet him, the first comic I gave him to sign was the first issue of Star*Reach, an independent title whose first issue went through four printings. The Starlin cover shown below was the back cover on the first two printings (1974 and 1975), but it was the front cover on the third and fourth printings (1977 and 1978). My copy is a third printing. I assumed that a copy of Star*Reach #1 would spark a comment from Starlin, as I hoped he didn't see one of those anywhere near as often as any of his Marvel or DC work. I was wrong.

However, he did comment on the second book I handed him, a copy of Marvel Graphic Novel #1, featuring an incredible story called "The Death of Captain Marvel." He noticed it was a first edition when he signed it, inside.

Here's the cover, followed by a photo of Michelangelo's Pieta, which inspired the cover:

I took that opportunity to bring up the back cover illustration, shown below:

Namely, I mentioned the sneaky little cameo by none other than DC Comics' Superman, nearly hidden by all the Marvel characters standing in front of him!

The last comic I had Jim sign was The first issue of The Thanos Quest, precursor to The Infinity Gauntlet. I'd previously had that book signed by penciler Ron Lim and inker John Beatty.

I wanted to share one more thing with you, another photo of Jim Starlin, this time posing with his creation.

Hm. I wonder if they would've let me sit on that display for a photo or two? No, probably not...

But Starlin does look kinda happy after all, don't you think?

So, there you have it, fellow babies! Three chapters talking about every comic pro I got to talk with at Terrificon 2018. Everybody! Evvvvvvvv'rybody!

Ummm... except one...

Looks like there's gonna be one more chapter after all!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Saturday, December 8, 2018


I've been very busy lately. And then, I got sick. (Nothing serious, so don't worry.) I'm not sure when I'll be back to posting, and visiting your blogs. 

I'm just telling you all that because I've been pretty good about posting a couple of times a week for a while now.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Tell It to the "Chaplin!" ~~ Originally Posted on 10/15/10

If I ask you, "Who is the man pictured in the above photo?" what will be your reply?

"Charlie Chaplin," you say, right?

"Nope," I reply. "It's definitely NOT Charlie Chaplin!"

"Okay," you say, "So maybe it's one of the many Chaplin 'wannabes' who sprang up in silent films after Chaplin -- and his famous "Little Tramp" character -- had burst upon the scene (such as the gent pictured in the following stereographic photo, issued circa 1925)?" (Please excuse the "eBay" text partially obscuring this and some of the other scans in this post, by the way. I'll explain about that later!)

"Nope!" I reply again.

"Okay, Mr. Fox! Maybe you did a little bit of computer voodoo with a still pic of Robert Downey, Jr. portraying Chaplin in the 1992 eponymous biopic? Or maybe you did that with a shot of someone else playing the role of Chaplin?"

Nope! (I'm enjoying this far too much, by the way.)

Here's a little background, fellow babies:

Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977) had barely begun his film career when his second film premiered in early 1914. This film was the very first to introduce the character known as the Little Tramp.

Here's Chaplin's own tale of how the look of the character came to be: "[On] the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small moustache, which I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression."

The use of this superb illustration of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp
has been graciously permitted by its artist, Jason Pruett.

Yep. That's how Chaplin himself explained the look of the character, and its origins.

"Fine. Whatever!" you say. "So who is the guy on the freakin' postcard?"

Postcard? Yes, it's a postcard. I actually own it. And the reason that the stereographic photo of the Chaplin impostor above and two of the scans below have "eBay" superimposed on 'em is because I (unsuccessfully) tried selling them as a pair several years ago, on eBay. That's when I made the scans. I would have made new scans for this post, but I'll be damned if I know where the freakin' postcard is right now!

Okay, let's take a look at the entire front view of the card (and note that the hat is normal-sized, and that the coat is somewhat baggy, not tight, and also note the absence of a cane)...

And a close-up of the front view (Sure looks like ol' Charlie, dunnit? But it isn't!)...

And now, the back view...

And a close-up of the back view...


"Wait a minute, Foxy!" you say. "1909? WTF?!?" (Or maybe you say "WTH," if you're so inclined. Heh.)

Yeah, 1909. Five years before the Little Tramp showed up on-screen, and one year before Chaplin ever set foot in the USA!

So, is this a remarkable coincidence? Maybe. Or did Chaplin see this outfit on the very same postcard -- well, another one just like it, I mean -- and decide to improve upon it? Maybe.

And is this li'l ole century-old postcard a one-of-a-kind, mouth-watering collector's item? Maybe.

It's also for sale... if and when I can ever find the damned thing, that is!

By the way... I hope you're not too disappointed by the fact that after all of my exposition, I've only told you "what" it is, and not who it is. 

I really don't know who it is, y'see... just that it's not Charlie Chaplin!

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!
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