Sunday, July 31, 2005

"Dangerous Sunday"

Seems like there's been an unusual amount of accidents here locally today. Maybe because of the nice weather; everyone trying to get out and enjoy Summer while they can.

I went by the local flea market today and as I started down the line of tables, I came upon a half dozen of them over-turned and smashed to bits! I walked on down a few tables and asked one of the dealers I knew there what had happened, and he said that around 5:30 AM this morning, a man had sped around the corner, lost control and plowed through the flea market! Seems that this guy was one of those "dive-offs" (not paying for gasoline) at the close-by Interstate, and was eluding the police. The vehicle finally stopped when he smashed into the side of a pick-up trush (owned by one of the dealers who had just stopped to do his set-up early).

Fortunately at that early hour, nobody was hurt. The dealer had seen him coming towards him and ran out of the way and no one else had started their set-ups yet. The local law came and got the driver who tested Point 1.8 for alcohol intoxication as well. The dealer's left side truck area was knocked in at least a good 8 inches. No words as to whether the flea market has insurance to cover such things, or if the driver had any insurance, not any report as to any injuries the driver sustained from the collision.

In the eight to ten years that particular flea market has been there, I've seen numberous fender benders from customers backing out into the highway, etc., but this one has got to be the worst. I think everyone was particularly thankful that it didn't happen later in the morning (say, around 10AM), as someone could have been killed.

Then a little while ago, I had to make another trip back to this same area and was stuck in traffic that was backed up almost 2 miles from the traffic light. There'd been an accident on Interstate 65, and police were letting everyone off in my town, and letting them on the interstate a couple exits down. I was able to cut thru back streets and avoid the most of it, since it's really too hot to sit in a car during the current heat wave, and coming back I took one of the old "party" roads I remembered and avoided traffic as well.

The problem with our local roads is that they were built approximately 75 years ago. They were fine for the traffic flow in "those days", but around the late 1950's had started becoming too congested, so the Interstate 65 HWY system was constructed which by-passed many a small town (and eventually spelled its doom, business-wise).

I can recall my parents driving the old road, which is 31-W and was the "main drag" of its day, from here to Louisville (85 miles North), or to Bowling Green (about 40 miles South) many a time. Such trips were an adventure to a small child because it seemed like it took forever. And, in truth, it did indeed take longer because these roads were more narrow, had two lanes, a limited speed limit, were curvy with seldom places to pass a slower vehicle, plus one had to travel through several small towns before you came to your destination.

Then, in the latter part of the 1960's, the interstate finally was finished and the traffic on 31 dwindled until it was primarily just the locals that traveled it. 31-W is still a pretty road and a pleasant drive in fact, and when I go either to Bowling Green, or Eliabethtown (where my father-in-law lives), I still take this road. You don't have to hurry on it and it's never congested anymore.

On this road you're still apt to find "See Rock City" signs painted on the roofs of barns, fields of cattle grazing, and the ruins of now lost little 'burgs and buildings that were at one time thriving restaurants or "beer joints". I remember there's still an old sign along the way that had been on a gas station with the price of gasoline at about 30 cents a gallon! And there's the ghosts of old silos where ancient barns once stood, now Conaneque towers standing silently and alone in the empty fields, covered with ages of vines.

Or the comical sign where a man was selling cattle and had a sign that read" "USED Cows For Sale"!

But with all of this pictureque farm land and quaint towns, I wonder "how" it must have been when an accident did happen on ol' 31? Such things were worst than an interstate collision as the roads are tight with no pull-off emmergency lanes, and little space for ambulances or the police to get to the scene of such. And sadly another site you'll see as you travel this older road are the numberous crosses placed on dangerous curves and intersections where a family member had erected them to remember a lost loved one from a traffic accident of years past.

But...maybe I'm just rambling on now.

IF you ever do happen to visit South-Central, Kentucky, I urge you to take some of these "back roads", enjoy the view and the slower pace, and...Drive Safely. The life you save might be mine.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Slow Down---I Move Too Fast"

Whenever both my wife and I have the same day off, it sometimes drives her a little wacky because she sees me pacing around the house, looking out the window, spending too much time at my pc or just generally being bored.

She always asks me what the problem is, and I can never give her a satisfactory answer, but I think it would more than likely be that I simply just don't know how to relax. You see, when you work almost every day like I do, and 9-1/2 hrs. each day, when I actually do have a day off and nothing on my "schedule" of tasks that need to be done, I just don't know what I should be doing.

I feel like I need to be active, like I am when I'm working, because that's the "norm" for me to run myself to death when I am at work. In fact, that's pretty much how today went. I slept in until 7 AM (and that's late for me on a day off), then got up and got myself awake with a little breakfast and some coffee, sat around a little bit getting the sleep out of my eyes then headed to the nearby weekend flea market just to see what was going on there.

And, that's about it. That was all I had planned for the day. The lawn had already been mowed for the week, the laundry was pretty much caught up as well as some other menial jobs around here, so I found myself with absolutely nothing else to do. I got so bored that I thought about taking a nap, but reconsidered that thinking it was just a waste of time.

I sat around and tried to watch a movie, only to find that bored me as well. I finally read some, got on the chat boards for a while and just wasted the day away. For a while, I had this depressed feeling which I believe comes from not being able to fill up my every waking hours with some activity.

It's not that wanting to be active isn't a good thing. I wouldn't want to just sit around all the time, grow fat (fatter), and waste my life. I should indeed be active and exercise, but still I really do need some lessons on slowing down a little and trying to learn how to enjoy life; that it isn't just all about paying my bills and constantly being responcible for all that comes my way.

And even if I were independently weathy and didn't have to work for a living, I'd still be the same way. Maybe not as bored because, although money may not be able to buy happiness, it can certainly help you pay for a good time or give you the available finances to create a job that you really would like to do.

But, I don't see that ever happening. So I guess I'll just continue to drive my wife nuts from time-to-time. 'Cause if I ever did ever completely stop, I just might never start up again!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Just Memories of Some Silly Crap I Did"

Went by the local flea market today and found a couple of old albums on reel-to-reel: "Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", and "Vanilla Fudge: Renaissance". Both of which contain some great music from the 1960's, and I even still have the Iron Butterfly one on l.p., but I don't have anything to actually play reels on. I just thought they were sorta neat, still there in their original boxes and for a buck each; felt like I had to preserve that bit of music history, I suppose.

Actually, music recorded on reel-to-reel is some of the best I've ever heard. There was this buddy I had back in the late 1960's named Mike Grady. Mike had been in The Army and stationed over in Germany where he picked up this really fine r-to-r system. he could put on a reel of recorded music and it'd last around 4 hours, then reverse itself to play yet another 4 hours recorded on the backside of the tape. Whenever he had a party he'd simply put on one of these long-playing reels and never have to fool with changing the music. Which, of course, leads into a funny story.

One I'll tell on myself about a time I think I probably got my worst "drunk".

When I was around 17 or 18, I went to one of Mike's party's. Naturally there was an abundance of alcholic beverages around, and that night I believe I must have drank a little of everything available: beer, apple jack, tequilla, name it, I had at least a "taste" of it.

Well, when the party was over and time for me to get home, I was pretty plastered. Way too much to even consider driving. But a buddy of mine who just lived down my street was there and he offered to drive me home in my car and let his brother take his car on home, then he'd just walk on down the street to where he lived.

I had yet to move from my folk's house in those days. Or, maybe I had already moved out once, then moved back in again for a while, but anyway, to get to my room in the house, I had to walk through my folk's bedroom.

I recall going into the house as quiet as a mouse, turning off lights and sorta walking by pure instinct to where my bedroom door was...but I was off by a couple of feet and stumbled into my folk's dresser. Sitting upon this dresser was an antique oil lamp (which I still own to this day), that that night, I knocked off! Miraculously, in the dark, I CAUGHT BOTH PIECES! I quickly and as quietly as possible put the lamp back together "by feel", and sat it back upon the dresser.

I was doing just fine...until I said "Excuse Me!" the lamp.

I then went into my bedroom, feel across my bed and was oblivious to anything until at least 11 AM the next day.

I'll have to say that my folks were pretty cool about the whole thing. They'd never seen me drunk before and honestly, I wasn't a "big partier" like a lot of my friends. In fact, the only thing I can recall being said was my dad remarking that I'd had "a little to drink the night before".

I would say it's best that they never knew how much!

Monday, July 25, 2005

"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like---"

Remember how as a child it seemed like it was 10 years between Christmas's? How that school year just drug on and on until it was finally Summer Vacation, and then that Summer Vacation slipped away and you were back behind that school desk , and, once again, time stood still?

Now here it is a mere 5 months until Christmas and only a week past that until another New Year. And as I personally grow older, I see more wisdom in the words:Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll." Because it can truely drive you nuts to try to ever recapture lost youth.

When I was 18, I figured I'd probably never make 30. When I was 30, I thought I'd never live past 50. Here I am now at 54 and "still standing". And maybe...just maybe if I'm lucky my gene pattern will follow that of my parents and I'll live into my 80's. "Maybe". My mom and dad never smoked which I figure will shorten my own life perhaps by as much as 10 years. But, you never know.

My grandmother was a chain smoker, never developed cancer, and lived to be 80. My grandfather smoked, and chewed, and drank moonshine whiskey pretty much up until his death at age 87. So I could be trottin' around on this planet for another good 30 years.

Or, I could die tomorrow. That's the chances you take being a mortal. We are such frail creatures; more so than we imagine. And as a youth you think you are immortal. Time sets you straight on that subject eventually.

And when I was a kid I had dreams of being a well-known comic book artist, or a professional oil painter, a movie star or a rock musician. I never achieved any of those goals, but I can't say I'm totally unsatisfied with what I DID achieve. To me, fame and fortune isn't as important as personal satisfaction that I was able to become an adult. To take on adult responcibilities, own my own home, feed and cloth myself and my family and keep a roof over our heads. To have steady employment and to be thought well of by other members of my community, my parents and my employers: those things are important to me.

So maybe I did indeed learn some lessons in this go around in human flesh over the years. I'm sure I still have a lot of lessons to learn before it's over.

P.S.: It's been mentioned that I don't seem to be doing as much posting this year, when in fact, in 2004 I only did a total of 60 posts from May to December. Whereas this year, today's post makes 101 for 2005. So I still have plenty to say! And I do appreciate all who continue to read my semi-regular rantings!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Happy Birthday, Lynda Carter!"

Birthday Wishes go out today to:

Lynda Carter.

You're still a wonder, Wonder Woman!

Friday, July 22, 2005

"Belated Movie Review: CONSTANTINE"

In the way of current movies, there are very few that I really care to see. Working as I do, I have little time to actually go to a theatre to watch a new film, so when I want to see it I usually have to wait until it comes out on rental.

I eventually see all of the ones based on various super-heroes or comic books, and this past Tuesday, Constantine, (based on the John Constantine character from the DC/Vertigo Hellblazer title), was finally available.

I must admit that I was hesitant to even watch this flick. I'm a "big" fan of the character from way back when he was first introduced in the Alan Moore run of Swamp Thing, and although I don't own many issues of the actual title, I DO have the first 203 issues all scanned on CD-ROM along with various Specials and have read each and every one. So one might say that I'd be more than picky about how some screen-writer treats the source material.

And, I knew from the "get go" due to many spoilers I've read over The Net in the past few months that there'd be elements about this film I would not like. Probably No.1 would be the fact that Keanu Reeves was playing the lead. Now it's not that I don't like Reeves as an actor. He was just fine in such flicks as Speed and The Matrix, but he just doesn't look like John Constantine. In the film they didn't make Constantine either British, or a blonde. These things seem very trivial to me as a fan of the book, because all Reeves would have had to do to make the film more interesting was to insist that his hair was bleached, and insist that he speak with a British accent. Like I said...trivial things, that I'm sure an actor as much in demand as he could have gotten changed without a blink of an eye to the producers, since neither would affect the theme of the film at all. In fact, it would have enhanced the movie to the many fans of the Vertigo title. Since he had them to change neither, this tends to indicate to me that he does not want to be considered as a serious actor; just somebody else in the film industry after that all-mighty buck.

And, as for the movie itself? Well...the posters are nice. (Okay. That's not fair. Here's what I actually thought about it, but do be warned beforehand that it may contain a spoiler or two, so if you've never seen this movie and don't want to know anything about it ahead of time, then now's the time to Exit Stage Right.)

The first thing other than the before-mentioned things I'd heard about Constantine, was that he was to have a "side-kick" of sorts. But, since that character is killed off in the flick, no problem. He won't be back (hopefully) if for some reason a sequel's ever done.

Even with the various changes they made to the storyline, such as having Lucifer cure John of his lung cancer and the other revisions, I really did enjoy this movie! I found the special effects to be top-notch and over-all, Reeves kept surprizingly quite in character throughout.

The movie had a decent plot, and a decent payoff as an ending. Since this was a rental DVD, it also contained several deleted scenes; things that would have changed the film a bit too much had they been added or merely lengthened the view time, that I think were probably necessary to remove/change to make the action have a good, continuous flow.

I liked the way they handled the angel Gabriel. Why film writers always want to "pick" on ol' Gabe' is beyond me. In The Prophesy when Chris Walken played the part, they had him act as if he was a disapointed child, jealous of God's Gift to humankind. In this movie, Gabriel is played similiar, but still on God's Team; not jealous of mankind as much as he just wants to see mankind suffer to enjoy the Benefits of Being on The Side of The Lord.

The background music was good and added to the mystical feeling throughout the film. Not something I'd want to go out and purchase just to listen to, but well-fitted to the various scenes in the movie.

There were no scenes that drug on, or were too dark, or had the voices recorded so low you had to strain to understand what the actors were saying, or just some bit of filler to lengthen the view time. The film didn't wear you out to sit there the length of it's running time.

The use of the mystical spells and enchantments appeared for the most part to be accurate. Some one had done their homework on the use, reciting and chanting of them.

And there were parts of this film that I personally can relate to (although we won't get "into that") which would make me want to sometime watch this film a second time. I'm not sure if I'd actually buy this DVD. (But if I do, I want to make sure I get a "letter-box" edition; this rental was a "full-screen".) Certainly I wouldn't pay for a new copy full price at a retail store, but I'm sure I'd pick it up somewhere if I found it discounted for my collection of such (which is much more than I'd say about some other comic book adaptations of late such as Catwoman or The Punisher just to name a couple).

I don't put it in the catagory of some adaptations I've enjoyed such as From Hell, or Ghost World, or even The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Nor would I catagorize it as a movie similiar to Spider-man or X-Men, simply because it's a totally different theme in a ball park far away from such "long john" hero-type flicks. But I think it holds it's own as being a movie that had I paid to see it in a theatre instead, I wouldn't have felt like I'd been ripped-off.

So...there you have it. A Thumbs Up! from me on Constantine. Yes. I would indeed recommend you watching this film.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Miss Annie"

My wife has some sprigs of a lily plant that has been in her family for nearly 100 years. In fact, they've had sprigs of this for so long, that it's acquired the name of Miss Annie.

We've always been told that each year before the first frost, we should take the plant indoors, water it well then cut it all the way back and cover it with a dark towel. Too not water it again until the next year when we take it back outside after the last frost of Spring.

Although it's bloomed before, this year it had a whoppin' eleven flowers and was really beautiful in its shades of pink with a pale center (see above photo).
No one ever knew exactly what type of flower Miss Annie is, altho' I could tell as I stated before, it's a lily. I assumed it was a wild variety that probably originally grew in Kentucky and was first dug up from the ground of some old "homeplace".

However, my wife recently informed me that the plant had been brought over when her Great Grandmother came to America. She couldn't remember if her Great Grandma was Irish or Scottish, but since her name was McLean, I would think the latter.

So this got me to wondering if this variation of lily probably isn't native to The Americas at all, but from the British Isles? Doing some research I discovered a similiar variety of lily named The Welsh Annie. Could this possibly be where they got the name for the flower? Seems like more than a coincidence. But, anyway, if anyone out there's a flower expert you might clue me in for certain.

And, in other items, I think I'll really not comment too much on the deaths of a couple of people that have recently passed on here since that news has been blogged so much in the past couple of days, but I will say that I'll miss the artwork of Jim Aparo. My first experience seeing his artwork was on the Wander back up strips in Charlton Comics' Cheyenne Kid in the late 1960's, as well as one unforgetable issue of Space Adventures (No.60) which featured a story called Paul Mann and The Saucers from The Future that I always liked a lot.

I thought his Spectre strips in Adventure Comics for DC were tops! Plus I was always a fan of his Aquaman and The Phantom Stranger work. Many fans considered him a Neal Adams wannabee, but I can tell a lot of differences between their styles and his work to me was always instantly recognizable.

And, James Doohan, one of the most likable of the original Star Trek crew. having one of the original crew members passing away to die-hard Star Trek fans is similiar to one of The Beatles dying to a music fan. was getting expected. People grow old. They develop health problems, sometimes both physically and mentally. None among us is immortal. Doohan was both wonderful and unforgetable in his roles, and he will be missed as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

"Happy 50th. Birthday Disneyland!"

Yes, today is the Birthday, Anniversary, (whatever) of the opening of Dineyland out there in sunny CA.!

No matter what "other" Disney-type theme parks that have been created here in the states or abroad, Disneyworld was the first and the best and stands as a shining tribute to the life and work of Walt Disney and his many characters.

And, incidently, it opened on my own 4th. birthday.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"Juuuust More of The Same Ol'"

After three full days of rain, I believe it's finally letting up. Today what was left from Hurricane Dennis seems to be gone and we just have heavy overcast, but it's pretty muggy. Too muggy, in fact, to mow this grass which has finally gotten a much needed watering, so I'll leave it for the weekend.

Been busy loading my wife's van for her craft show this weekend. I have low expectations for sales on crafts these days, and the record has been for the past year of shows that all sales have been pretty well down. China has just about totally destroyed the craft business, what with 85% of everything Wallyworld carries these days being exported from there, China's manufactoring costs are just so low that it's nearly impossible to compete with mass produced products.

For example, our yard ornaments used to be our best sellers, especially around Halloween and Christmas, but we made and painted all of those by hand and produced a quality item. Now anyone can buy them for about 25% or less of what we'd have to sell them for, and since they're only used for a short period of time, most buyers opt' to purchase the cheap ones instead and just dispose of them yearly if they start to look worn.

So every show now it's a battle to try to do "something different" that craft buyers haven't already seen.

But with the current economy, I can't completely blame the buyers; things are tight money-wise with most folk. They think, "I can't afford the best item now, so I'll get the cheap one and maybe that'll last until I have more money." And, of course, workers have gotten spoiled to higher wages over the years as well, which is why there's a 1,000 oil wells out West capped off and not producing crude because you can't get anyone to process it for a decent lower wage so the companies can make some sort of profit. Just one of the reasons our own economy is bad these days is because we've allowed so many foreign interests to take over the production of needed goods. The general public "wants it all" instead of "just what they need". So people had best enjoy it while they can because one day they'll end up with a very rude awakening when rationing begins and they can see exactly how people made do during World War II.

In other news, I haven't gotten much new in lately in the way of comics outside of a couple of humor issues: a Gold Key Pebbles Flintstone No.1 (Gold Key one-shot from 1963), and a Sugar & Spike No.96 (DC/1971). I really wouldn't mind having more of the Mayer S&S's, but they always seem pretty popular on auctions and always seem to go for more than I want to give for them. I have been having a friend burn me sets of many titles I've always wanted in either the originals or TPBs on CD-ROM. Currently I have the first 200+ of Hellblazer, a full set of Preacher, the Alan Moore Swamp Thing issues, Watchman, the first 100 issues of Strange Adventures, Miracle Man 1 thru 25, Lucifer 1 thru 63, Transmetropolitan 1 thru 60, plus all of the Special Editions published of those titles, and some other "stuff". I've built up quite a collection of these to read and at a fraction of what it'd cost me in a different format, plus they take up a lot less space to store. I think I have something like 1,600 comics on CD-ROM now, with more I'm sure to get.

This was supposed to be my weekend off, but unfortunately, my co-worker's girlfriend has a birthday Sunday (the 17th.) and he had one of the women swap out days with him. Now that woman has come to me and asked if I'd work for her. I wouldn't mind it that much since it's extra hours (thus, extra pay), but Sunday also happens to be MY birthday as well! So, it looks like I'll have to work it. 'Peaves me in a way; not because in particular that I have to work on my birthday; done that many a time before, and, at my age, birthdays just don't mean much to me anymore. What DOES peave me? This woman that asked me, which is elderly, has already had the boss cut back the days she works per week to next to nothing. So, if she's not wanting to work, then why doesn't she just quit altogether? I grow weary of having to rearrange my own life around so many others at that place.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

"Hot Sunday Afternoon Blog Post"

July the 3rd. A Day that lives in infamy to me. It was on July 3rd., 1969 while going to see a friend that lives not too far away, that I misjudged the speed of an oncoming car and turned in front on it, causing it to hit me broadside, sending to the the hospital to receive 16 stitches in my forehead and bad bruses on my chest where I struck the stearing wheel so hard it crushed it! I stayed in the local hospital recuperating for 3 days. Fortunately, the two guys in the other car received only very minor scratches, but the accident destroyed his brand new '69 Caddie and my '64 Plymouth Fury. Although the accident report stated that the Caddie was actually doing 70+ MPH, the accident was deemed my fault due to pulling in their path.

So, maybe it's just a superstition to me for never driving the same road or ever going to see that old friend on this date. But, hey...that was one damn nice car I wrecked.

In other news, if we don't have a good, decent soaking rain here locally soon, my yard will look like a desert. Already we've gone a good two weeks without rain and now I have these large brown spots of dead grass about anywhere that's not shaded by the trees. The plants are all taking a terrible lickin' from this heat and dryness, altho' each evening I go out near sundown to water them. The birdbaths are staying empty and need constant refilling from being splashed out or evaporation. In fact, about the only thing that seems to be thriving is the cactus garden and the weeds (which seem to be able to continue growing if they were planted on the sun).

In comic news, I finally got in that copy of Rawhide Kid #17 from 1960, which is the first true Marvel issue and the first appearence (and origin) of the Kirby version of The Kid any Marvel fan that grew up in the 60's grew to love. Jack Kirby was doing some of his best work then, and not everyone realizes, I suppose, that this was his first continuous strip for Marvel predating The Fantastic Four by a year. In fact, eight full issues by Kirby were produced before Fantastic Four #1 ever hit the stands. Kirby did about 15 issues of The Kid, followed by two issues by Jack Davis which are very nice as well.

I try to just ignore what Marvel's done with this character in recent years (as I try to ignore most of what that company has done with their characters since about the 1980's), mainly because they decided he was just a minor, old character that no one cared about anymore and used the recent mini-series to state that he was gay. They could have used any character they owned, but they probably thought it might hurt the sales of the like of Johnny Storm or The Ghost Rider, or The Punisher, so...they picked on Rawhide just because the newer collectors and fans didn't know him as well. Marvel, if you're going to use a "gimmick" to sell your books, try to remember the best gimmicks of all are: 1) Decent art. 2) Decent writing. & 3) A decent price. And from now on, try to think better of the work which went before you which created your company in the first place, please.

I've also read the current Seven Soldier: Klarion the Witch Boy, which is another of Kirby's old characters, but from the 1970's series of The Demon by DC Comics. I like the way DC's handling this character okay, but---they've made him a bit more naive that he was originally shown 25 or so years ago. It is nice to see that this character wasn't "lost" during their Crisis series tho'. In fact, I think this may be his only app.'s outside of a Teen Titans Special a few years back.

Fred Hembeck mentioned over on his blog the other day that a 5 DVD set of the 1950's George Reeves' The Adventures of Superman t.v. series will be released this October, and I'm anxiously awaiting that. Maybe I can finally retire all of those VHS tapes of those shows now. Like a lot of old fans, I grew up watching that series as a small kid, so they hold that special place to me.