Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Comic Book Memories

Ah, but this picture takes me back to those innocent days of yesteryear!

You see, once upon a time there were neighborhood stores, be they "variety" stores or pharmacies, that used to have big, wooden racks that held comic books. Some of the stingier stores had a simple rotating wire rack, but the serious comic-shopper knew that a plywood display rack was the best.

In Kenmore, NY, the place with the biggest comic book selection was Keiner's. It was run by two 100-year-old sisters that wore aprons, looked like they were sucking lemons and stood around with their arms in a permanent "kangaroo droop" when they weren't ringing the cash resister.

Now why two spinsters that hated children would paradoxically also have the biggest variety of funny books is beyond me, but they did.

Their racks were similar to the one shown here, with one very important difference! There was a solid front to each slot that would cover up all but the top 1/4" of the books' covers. This meant if you wanted to actually see which book was in any given rack space you had to pick up the book and lift it far enough past the divider to see the title!


Is that a Popeye or is it a Porky Pig? Uhhh, I can only see the top-most part of the letter P. I'll just lift it up a bit...

"DON'T TOUCH THAT COMIC BOOK UNLESS YOU'RE GOING TO BUY IT!!!" one of the Miss Grundy sisters would shriek.

"B-but, I-I can't see the title," little Craig would stammer.

"DON'T TOUCH THOSE COMICS UNLESS YOU'RE GOING TO BUY THEM!!!" the other Grundy would bellow.

"B-but..."

"NO 'BUTS!' EITHER BUY SOMETHING OR GET OUT!"

That was Keiner's. Don't get me started on Romance's or Joe's...

Ah, those golden memories!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day With Dad

My Father has been visiting us this week. It's great having him around. He knows stuff about things.

On Memorial Day we attacked my over-grown back yard. The former occupants had a real show place, with plenty of hedges, flower beds, bushes, shrubs, tress and even some green plant they call "grass" living in abundance.

Well, we zeroed in on the monstrously-overgrown hedges. They were so bad that I had to use a pair of those "limb loppers" to cut through the center of them! I managed to hack those babies down to an almost-uniform height.

My neighbor pointed out that much of the vegetation living in my yard is actually poison ivy! YIPES! We took a run to the HOME DEPOT and bought some Roundup Ivy-Killer.

We also bought a sack of cold-pack asphalt patch for two really deadly craters in my driveway. And some coil stock to form a piece of trim for over the back door. And...

Without my Dad's lifetime of "how-to" smarts in the neighborhood it wouldn't have occurred to me that a mere mortal could actually fix or maintain any of this stuff!

While I've inherited almost none of his Mr. Fix-It genes, his love of language peculiarities seems to have been passed on.

He mentioned that, in second grade, he was fascinated by the name of a girl in his class. It was Sarah Pach, whose last name was pronounced "pox." Number one, the fact that "Pach" would be said as "Pox" caught his attention. Number two, he noticed that if he switched it up a bit, "Sarah Pach" became "pair of sox!"

That's my Dad!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bad Dog! BAD!

A while back, I read a rave review in the Fayetteville Observer for a local mini-chain (two locations) of hot dog stands called "Hot Diggety Dog." The review made it sound like a to-die-for culinary experience.

About a month ago, Michelle, Mariel and I made an attempt to go to the one closest to our house. I kid you not, the parking lot was overflowing with Mercedes, BMWs, SUVs and any other number of luxury vehicles. In fact, it was so packed that we knew the long wait in line would be deadly for our three year old, so we passed.

Well, there is also one of the Doggety places near where I work, so I made up my mind to hit it at lunch time today.

I squeezed in next to a BMW and went inside to take my place in line.

Simple menu:

  • Hot Dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Cheeseburgers
  • "American Fries"

I got two hot dogs "all the way" and an order of fries.

Folks, they were absolutely NOTHING SPECIAL!

The hot dogs were of the Oscar Meyer variety, fried on a grill and inserted in to a Sunbeam hot dog bun. The "American Fries" had me rooting for the French!

All I can say that's good about it is that it was cheap. $1.25 each for the hot dogs and seventy-five cents for the fries.

Back in the Buffalo, NY area we had a local hot dog chain called TED'S JUMBO RED HOTS. Now that's how to do it right!
Anybody out there have a favorite hot dog stand..?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Album Covers

Here are some more CD inserts I created for some "bootleg" Beatles discs. Quite often, I'd get these discs in trade and they didn't come with any artwork, so I'd make my own...




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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Album Covers

I bought my first CD-R drive back in 1999. It was clunky. It was slow. It would spazz out and waste the occasional $1.00-apiece blank CD-R. But I loved it! This was so far beyond making a cassette! I don't know how many hours of my life went down the drain transferring music from 45s/LPs/tapes into wav files and then onto CD-Rs, but I'm sure it is a large amount.

Even more time was flushed down the drain crafting jewel case inserts. Now, I'm no graphic artist or anything, but I thought I'd share some of them here with you, my adoring blog audience.
Hey - No surprise here! Yep, one of my first big projects was to compile my various Budget Bin Beatles Knock-Offs.

Instead of "Meet The Beatles" I called the first one "Not The Beatles."
(This is because I am so clever.)

So, naturally, that was followed up by...

Witty word-play for compilation #3.

Then, a return to form for #4!

I really liked the name and the design for this one!

Sorry for the crappy scan, here.
This is my "Crumbs" series.
These consist of various tracks recorded by garage bands in the mid-sixties.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Just Sayin'...

All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Find A "Need" And Fill It?

I mentioned in my previous entry that I'd been thinking about doing a post concerning TV advertising, but maybe I'll widen my scope a bit. Believe it or not, I actually have hours and hours of old TV commercials on tape and I watch them from time to time for entertainment!

What I'm curious about is how so many people (myself, included) have come to be bamboozled into thinking that certain items are such necessities that entire industries spring up and prosper by serving these "needs." Here goes...
I'm certain if someone from 1964 was magically transported to the present day, he'd be convinced that somehow those "dirty commies" had succeeded in sabotaging our country's water processing plants. What other explanation could there possibly be for people buying cases and cases and cases of BOTTLED WATER?

I'm looking for the day I read a news story about someone dying of dehydration because they were stuck in their house with a fully functional kitchen faucet, but were unable to get to the store to buy their friggin' 144 count case of Aqua-Fina!

Another future headline:

Mother Rushes Three Year Old To Poison Control Center!
Tot Found Drinking From Water Tap -
Full Recovery Doubtful

How did we get to the point of thinking we had to pay $1.00 a mouthful for drinking water? What mass hypnosis is responsible for the irrational behavior? The beverage industry is no doubt looking into ways to market fresh air.
Taco Bell's "Fourthmeal!" Now, this one probably won't be as pernicious as that bottled water thing. But who knows?

I can imagine some corporate wag saying, "Oh, we're having fun with this one! Fourthmeal is that meal between dinner and breakfast. Heh, heh, heh. It's a cute and edgy concept. You know, Gorditos aren't just for breakfast anymore!"

But in their dark heart-of-hearts they're hoping people will be setting their alarm clocks for 3:00 am, panicked, lest they forget the "fourth most important meal of the day!"

"Mommy, I'm hungry! I didn't have my fourthmeal!"

Oh no! Don't let Social Services find out, you poor excuse for a parent!
One of my favorite movies is "That Thing You Do." There is a scene in the Pattern's appliance store where Skitch's Dad is looking at a newspaper ad for a competitor's store.

"Look at that," he grouses. "A shoe shine kit! You can't just grab a rag and shine your shoes any more. You need a shoe shine kit!" (He practically spits out the last three words, such is his contempt for the concept of a "shoe shine kit.")

Well, I feel the same way about these "swiffer" products. Aren't we using enough needlessly expensive disposable stuff yet? And the TV commercial is a CGI extravaganza showing the mop propelling itself through an upscale house leaving sparkling, cleaned-and-waxed floors in its wake. Uh, its not really that great a thrill, guys.

"You just can't grab a rag and clean your floors anymore. You need a swiffer mop! And its one-use-only tampax mop-head! And the 16-oz cleaner refill! Mutter... Mutter... Mutter..."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Commercials I Hate (dot) Com

Oh, man, but have I been in a prickly mood lately!

I've been thinking about doing a post concerning TV advertising and I might yet do it. But first I'm going to have to carefully read through the commercialsihate.com website to see if there's any ground left to be plowed.

This fellow has a great list of ADVERTISING OFFENSES with which I already agree. Here's a sample:
TOTALLY UNREAL SITUATIONS:

These ads show people in situations they would never really be in, like two grown women grocery shopping together with one cart, or a girls soccer team eating cheerios with bowls and spoons on the soccer field.

I saw an ad where a guy eats cereal at an outdoor cafe, with the cereal box on the table.

People eat cereal at home and that's it.

Nobody goes out and pays to eat cereal in a cafe.

And on the soccer field? Give me a break!

I'd like to see an ad that shows single people eating right over the sink.

Now that's a real situation!

Well, as I said, I've been in a prickly mood, lately...

UPDATE: In the interest of being fair and balanced, I give you a link to bestadsontv.com.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Works / Doesn't Work

There are some evergreen items that we American consumers buy regardless of whether or not they perform as expected. Here a few examples that spring to mind...

WORKS: Washable Crayola Crayons! With an active 3-1/2 year old in the house, keeping a supply of crayons, coloring books and drawing paper on hand is a must. An even mustier must is ensuring the artist's handiwork can be cleaned off of surfaces that were not meant to exhibit her art. The solution? Washable Crayola Crayons! They are fully-functional crayons and are also 100% washable. Walls, furniture, whatever, can be cleaned up with a wet cloth. Oh, that all products would be this perfect...
DOESN'T WORK: String Trimmers! What a great theory; use fishing line rotating at high velocity to cut down weeds in places a normal lawn mower can't reach. The reality, though, leaves much to be desired. The reality is that the danged string breaks off after 0.3 seconds of use and the entire spool has to be removed, rewound and re-threaded so that you can coax another 0.3 seconds of trimming time from this demonic device.

"But, Craig," you say, "You should get one of those self-feeding kinds that you simply tap on the ground to dispense more fishing line."

"But, gentle blog reader, " I reply, "That is exactly the model I'm talking about! They never, never, never, never, never, never, never ever work! NEVER!!!"
DOESN'T WORK: Drip Coffee Makers! Well, I guess technically they do work, as far as making some sort of coffee-like substance goes. What doesn't work is that feature that allows you to remove the carafe while it is brewing. There are always those few drips that spatter on the warming surface. If you don't interrupt you whole coffee-pouring activity to wipe them up they will sputter, sizzle and pop when you put the pot back in the "brew zone," as I like to call it. This seems too high a price to pay just so you can have a tepid beverage that tastes like somebody boiled an old wallet. (Of course, if one cleans their coffee maker per the manufacturer's directions it will taste like an old wallet boiled in vinegar!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Exactly The Opposite!



Seems to me that drunk driving really became a hot-button issue back in the 1980s, or thereabouts. I remember many a story from my parents' generation of folks getting all liquored-up and then driving home at 5 mph because they were "three sheets to the wind."

That's the way it used to be. As Sam Kinison pointed out, "we're not murderers, we're just trying to get home!!!!"

But wait-a-minute! This is not a pro-drunk-driving post; far from it. Read on...

The problem: People get drunk. When these drunken people get behind the wheel and with their skills seriously impaired, there is a greater chance of automobile fatalities occurring. Groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) are formed and the population at large becomes aware of the issue.

The problem behind the problem: With the general population enlightened about the perils of drinking and driving, a chilling effect takes hold. When folks go to parties and other drinking environments people make an effort to reign in their guzzling proclivities. Folks either drink non-alcoholic beverages (remember N/A Beer?) or scale 'way back in an effort to remain sober enough to drive. The breweries and distilleries no doubt notice this dangerous (to their pocket books) trend and decide to step up to the plate to offer their help...

The solution: The idea to "drink responsibly" is brought to market. Remember? "Friends don't let friends drive drunk!" The concept of the "designated driver" is born. The booze industry is proud and happy to flog this in their "Public Service" advertising.

The problem behind the solution: Well, with the fox now guarding the hen house it is quickly understood how the "designated driver" game is to be played, to wit:
1. A group of 5 people go out for a night of boozing.

2. One person of the five is the wet-blanket designated driver.

3. The other four people take this as a license to drink themselves blind drunk. The blinder, the better. Gluck gluck gluck gluck gluck! "We're being responsible because we have a ride home. DOOD!"

4. The designated driver gets "faced" anyway because there's nothing more boring than staying sober and watching everybody else getting smashed and acting like idiots!

Hence, the beer-bong! Drink more, drink faster. You're drinking responsibly!

Yep - problem solved! I can see no down side. DOOD!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Do You Like Cartoons?

Well, do you? You do? Amazing! We have so much in common!

You owe it to yourself to check out the ASIFA HOLLYWOOD ANIMATION ARCHIVE blog. Seriously! Go there now and soak it all in. The amazing thing is, the blog is just the teeniest preview of what is housed in the actual brick and mortar archive.

In the interest of disclosure, I will mention that I donated one measly audio recording to the archive a while back, but I'd be "pimping" them any way.

So, do you like cartoons?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The People Have Spoken!

Gosh, in my previous post I tried to be all philosophical and pleasant about the on-going (ahem) fertilizer-storm that is my "life."

Here is a sampling of the replies from the comment section:


"...venting is quite understandable."

"...though there's a lot to be said for taking things positively and constructively, nothing can beat a good gripe-fest..."

"... I think a good beer-and-bitch-out session is well-deserved..."


So, I guess what I'm saying here, guys, is, "thanks!"

Here's a parting shot from the comments section:

"I think that you're allowed and even encouraged to vent about the stress in your life. You only need to worry when venting about stress becomes your life!"

Amen to that!

Monday, May 07, 2007

My "Fifty Dollar Bill" Rap

One of my cliched life observations is, "If someone was standing on the corner handing out fifty dollar bills, there'd still be people complaining that they didn't get their favorite serial numbers."

I've been guilty of that recently. Instead of being thrilled at getting a fast fifty, I've been complaining about not getting it exactly to my liking.

For example...

That Bathroom Thing. Well, it's Monday morning and the crew is back at it. I've been upset that they've been dicking around and taking some short-cuts, but guess what? Those stinkin' ants are history and the bathroom is getting a much-needed updating!

Wife's Operation. Despite all my well-deserved bile, WellPath is, indeed, going to pay off on their share of the bills associated with my wife's recent surgery. Oh, and did I mention there was no cancer and she's recovering nicely? (We may also get some supplemental assistance with the residual expenses via Medicaid!) So what's to complain about, I ask you?

Yeah, sure there have been other stresses this past month or so, e.g. dead car battery, broken dryer, broken vacuum cleaner, etc. But really, all those things got taken care of and life, for better or worse, stumbles on...
2007_05_04_hand_clenched

Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The On-Going Crisis

Note: This is not my tub, but it almost is.



As mentioned HERE, we'd been having a problem with ants in the bathroom, specifically in and around the bathtub.

Well, we bit the bullet and had a contractor come in to re-hab the area. The crew started on Wednesday morning. Once they pulled off the tile and the old plaster board they found a mother-lode of ants, eggs, nests and centipedes at home in the insulation. The workers were covered with these little buggers. My poor wife saw the whole thing and will undoubtedly require massive therapy. Luckily, I was at work and missed the festivities.

The question of whether or not to keep the window was solved for us, because they found much of the window casing was rotted and needed replacing. "BRICK THE DANGED THING UP!" was our reply.

It is now Saturday morning. They are still working towards finishing up this project. Some final "mud work" and painting are required. Will this be the night our family can once again shower and bathe?



SATURDAY EVENING UPDATE.

The answer is a resounding "N-O!"

Instead of the three-man crew that had been "working" on this apparently monumental project during the week, we got one guy today. The contractor boss-man dropped him off and ran over to another job.

The fellow on-site installed the combination light/fan unit and then waited for the boss-man to return to get the dry-wall prep finished. Boss-man showed up, diddled around for a bit and then announced that he was "taking Danny out for lunch."

This "lunch" has proven to be an hour to hour-and-a-half ritual, so Michelle, Mariel and I ran over to the Home Depot to pick up a new shower rod. We were in and out in record time. BIG MISTAKE ON OUR PART!

Somewhere around 4:00, two hours after "lunch" began, the boss-man called us from his cell phone. "Hey, where were you? Lissen, we'll have to finish this up on Monday." These stinkers must've cut their lunch "short" (only an hour?) and came back to a locked house. Rather than wait five minutes, they fled the scene. Bastiches!

Long story short, the wife called him back on his cell and told him in no uncertain terms that this project will be finished up on Monday and they will clean up the mess they've made. I immediately re-claimed the family room and threw all their tools and what-not into our shed. "For safe keeping" don't you know.

Michelle cleaned up the layers of crap in the bathroom and we gave Mariel a bath tonight. Heck, I even took a bath! I haven't had a shower since Wednesday morning, gang, and I have to help usher at Church tomorrow.

What will I find when I come from work Monday evening..?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Music For Longhairs

I found these two LPs listed on Ebay a while back. They're "various artists" compilation albums on the DESIGN label.

I like the troll doll cover better than the faux-Carnaby Street design. I can't be sure, but I get the feeling that this might be the same album issued with two different cover designs.


Looking at the other end of the spectrum, here's an LP of "Music for Hardhats" played by The Hardhats.

Note that the song "A Boy Named Sue" is a featured tune. Our cover model is wearing a hardhat adorned with a pink flower and the name "Sue" emblazoned on it.

Is this supposed to be a "boy" named Sue? (Sue looks as if s/he got dressed in an awful hurry this morning!) I feel a tidal wade of conflicted gender-bending emotions by just looking at this cover.

One of the most pressing questions that springs to mind is, "Can I have a bite of that sandwich?"

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