October 13, 2011

A Strange Arrangement

Salvador Dali's Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (1944)

"Most people don't grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging." 
                         Maya Angelou

A fan-made video for Mayer Hawthorne's "The Ills" from A Strange Arrangement (2009)

"Me, Ghost!", art by Jack Katz
Adventures into Darkness #10 (June 1953)

Everybody Tells Me Everything
Ogden Nash

I find it very difficult to enthuse
Over the current news.
Just when you think at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no
blacker, it worsens.
And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era
when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.

October 12, 2011

Gezunt Heights

Early this morning, on a whim, I decided to try something different here on the blog. I thought about an approach based on the concepts of simplicity and variety. On a piece of paper, I wrote the following:

a comic
a song
a link
a video 
a quote
a poem
a painting
an advertisement

All of the exhibits except for one (the song) were found over the course of the last seven hours. The selection process was both random and intuitive, and the exhibits chosen all hold some appeal to me personally. 

Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy, as reprinted in Comics on Parade #74 (Oct-Nov 1950)

 Georgia O'Keeffe's Oriental Poppies, 1928


 Jimmy Webb's "P.F. Sloan," from the album Words and Music, 1970

“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been kindness, beauty, and truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, and luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.” Albert Einstein

CBS Outtakes and Bloopers

Pepsi-Cola magazine ad, May 1957


Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you. 

Langston Hughes

What is your reaction to this exhibit?

October 6, 2011

Big Underdog News!

Patrick Owsley drew this magnificent portrait of Underdog.

Pinch me, I must be dreaming! My inner child is posilutely delightificated at the news over at TVShowsonDVD concerning a January 2012 release of Underdog: The Complete Series! Amazon has it listed with a runtime of  1260 minutes, which hopefully means that the show will finally be presented as nature intended, uncut, with original titles and openings/closings, and with all the other character shorts (Tennessee Tuxedo, Go Go Gophers, etc.) included.

It just occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to explain to you my passion for things such as this. I had a lonely childhood, but there was something in me determined to overcome all obstacles to happiness. The key for me was in nurturing my own imagination. I instinctively knew on some level that, while bullies could succeed in marring the landscape of my reality, they could never penetrate the outer walls of my fantasy world, a place where I could safely guard my optimistic dreams of the future. 

So, very early on, I began to draw constantly. I created my own characters and comic books. The fruits of my creativity were amateurish, but it was great fun drawing, and great therapy too. It was only the next logical step that I should be drawn to the products of other people's creativity as well. At first it was comics and Saturday morning cartoons. There were so many places and times I could escape to when life was bearing down on me in unpleasant ways. As I grew older, I became more and more interested in music. I found I could escape into a song just as easily as I could escape into a book. Any form of creativity shared is a portal to an alternate reality. Being ostracized by classmates was a fortunate thing, as I rarely fell under the sway of peer pressure, the most subtle bullying of all.

There are people who believe it is foolish to spend any time in a fantasy world. There are those that believe that becoming an adult means suffocating their inner child. There is such a large difference between being "childlike" and "childish." As kids, we see our parents, weary from their jobs, complaining about high prices and their overbearing bosses, acting increasingly jaded as the years limp by. I made a promise to myself that I would never be that person. I must tell you, it has made all the difference.

The standard stereotype placed on all dreamers, except for the few like Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, who derive millions of dollars from their creative pursuits, is that they are lazy, non-contributing cellar dwellers. It isn't the dreaming that is the problem. It is the failure for some to even try to turn those dreams into realities. Some dreams, in the end, do not pan out, but that is no reason not to pursue them. Because I dreamed of being a songwriter, I ended up playing music in a club where I met the eventual mother of my two precious daughters. Pursuit of my dream led me to a reality that surpassed my dream. That's what dreams do. They inspire better realities. 

I like The Underdog Show because it encapsulates, in it's own way, 1964 America, a time when John F. Kennedy had been killed, but his optimistic dreams for the future were more alive than ever. I like The Underdog Show because creative men and women joined together to create something not meant to maim, destroy, or oppress, but rather to entertain and delight. I like The Underdog Show because it thrills and comforts my inner child, and that, in turn, fuels my desire to be a responsible caring adult, and not a jaded cynical one. 

There's no need to fear...

October 5, 2011

Hiatus No More!


Well, that door could certainly use a touch of oil...Now where is that consarned light switch? Ah!

Much better! Well, the old place seems to be pretty much as I left it. A few cobwebs here and there. No biggie.

Y'know, I have a pet peeve about bloggers who don't blog for a while and then feel it is necessary to apologize and then explain the reasons for their absences in excruciating detail. It is my opinion that a blog should never stray too much from it's topic(s), and so I will spare you the details of my sabbatical, the moving to a slightly bigger apartment, the job promotion, etc. I will certainly not bore you with anecdotes about my recent trip to Harrah's Cherokee Casino and the 50 free spins I won on the Lancelot slot machine or how my girlfriend actually made bodily contact with her beloved Rick Springfield at a concert that was louder than an A-Bomb blast. I will not be sharing the details about the renewed focus on my songwriting endeavors which will soon yield actual recordings that you will actually be able to hear with your actual ears on my actual new songwriting blog.

What I will say is that I truly missed the company of my pop culture loving brethren. I am delighted to see more and more bloggers appear on the scene to share and celebrate the products of inspired creativity. Art, in all forms, is fuel for the positivity that shields us from the weapons of apathy and despair. Whether you follow this blog regularly, or just now stumbled upon it accidentally, I hope you will find something here to inspire you.


What do you get when you cross a legendary British comedy troupe with an American morning show? This 1975 clip, submitted to YouTube by "FirstNews8," gives us a taste of Holy Grail-era Monty Python, minus John Cleese, practically taking over AM America, ABC's precursor to Good Morning America. Peter Jennings' interspersed reports on the fall of Saigon add an additional ingredient to this weird cocktail.


In the last 24 hours, I have become the newest ardent admirer of Curt Boettcher, a name synonymous with the California Pop sound of the 60's. My first dose of his greatness comes in the form of a 1968 album called Begin, the only LP effort from his band  The Millennium. Here is a small taste, contributed by "GuyLiguili."

Much more information about the visionary sounds of Curt Boettcher can be found on Spectropop.


Longtime readers of this blog will be familiar with my fondness of the cartooning work of Sheldon Mayer. Thus, I simply must point you in the direction of the first ever book collection devotely solely to his work. The Sugar and Spike Archives Vol. 1 is 240 pages of whimsical brilliance, guaranteed to delight young and old alike. The book reprints the first ten issues of this charming, but oft-overlooked masterpiece. You'll scarcely be ten pages in before you forgive the garishness of the way-too-pink cover.


"You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break." - Harry Truman