Sunday, April 30, 2006

"The Insurance Company That Isn't"

With March here "coming in like a lion", I'm hoping that on this last day of the month it'll go "out like a lamb", especially considering the damage to this month's tornado damage has yet to be repaired.

Finally just last week we had an adjuster come by, and then last Friday, we also got in a paper telling us how much we'd get to do our repairs. To our dismay, it was only about 1/4 of the estimates, so fixing any damage to the roof is out of the picture. We'll be lucky if we can use this money to cover the damage to the vinyl siding and broken windows.

Then our insurance company did a really nice thing to us: they cancelled our house insurance giving the reason that we were a few days late in our payment last time! So here we sit with no house insurance at all.

The local insurance firm did send us quotes from another company, but the trick here is that we need to repair the damage first before we insure with them, as they'll send someone down to take pictures of our house. If they see the damage they'll either not insure us, or our payments will be higher.

So, "Good Luck" to all of you out there if you have your house insured through Planters. For goodness sake, never be a day late with your payments even if, like us, you've always made it, and never have any house damage, cause,'ll just be sh*t outta luck.

Friday, April 28, 2006

"Rewatching Favorite Flicks"

Stayed up late last night and watched for the gilmillionth time one of my favorite flicks, the 1950 King Solomon's Mines, starring Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr, and based on the 1885 novel by a favorite writer as well, H. Rider Hagard.

Granger embodies the spirit of "the great white hunter" to a t as he portrays the part of adventurer Allen Quatermain, and it is a part I'd never seen played well until Sean Connery did his bit in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (a movie with excellant actors even if it was more than loosely based on Alan Moore's work by the same name).

For those not in the know about the central character of this film, Haggard wrote not just the one adventure of Quatermain, but a whole series. As for myself, consider him to be the greatest adventure writers of the 1800's.

It's always great to see the "stampede scene" in this film, with Quatermain and his party taking shelter behind a short row of stones, trying to fire upon the appraching, thundering hooves of zebra, antelope and wildebeests running frantically and literally jumping over them as they attempt to flee from a wild brush fire. This particular scene was recycled into a number of later African-hunter-type flicks virtually uncut. Lord knows that had I lived in the 1800's, I'd wanted to travel to The Dark Continent myself due to Hagard's vivid descriptions!

And, before I left for work yesterday morning, I caught about an hour of another favorite 1950's flicks, Forbidden Planet, made in 1956 in the height of the cold war scares, UFO phenomena, and sci-fi crazes. Considered somewhat campy today, this was still one of the best of that time's science-fiction offerings, with Leslie Nielsen playing the captain of a space ship landing on a planet, once inhabited by super-intellient beings, but now whose only souls were "squaters" Walter Pidgeon and his beautiful, young daghter played by the luscious Anne Francis.

Played seriously, it still makes me want to laugh every time Neilsen opens his mouth due to his numberous humor flicks of the past decade or more. It's difficult for me to take him as a dramatic actor when he's just so damn good at comedy. But this old flick has all one would want from a sci-fi movie of its time, including riotous space uniforms, "spirting" ray guns, an animated monster from the id, alien technology and landscapes, the first appearance of "Robby the Robot" all blended together to make a love story! One of what I think's is the most interesting things is about this movie is the design of the earthly spacecraft, which diverts from the usual cone-shape well-thought-of of that era, to that of a "flying saucer"; a very original tactic to pull in such a film when aliens and their crafts were thought of in hostile terms.

Instead of a Top 10 favorite all-time flicks, I could probaby list a hundred, but these two I've just mentioned definately go up there in my ten faves, along with such films as the original "King Kong", "The Ten Commandments", "Arcenic & Old Lace" (among others).

Monday, April 24, 2006

The 2006 "Ultimate Avengers" Animated Flick

Was watching "Thunder Over Louisville" the other night, as I usually do every year on the tube. (And for those who aren't familiar with it, it's a tremendous fireworks display that's held on the bridge that links Kentucky and Indiana.) After it was over I turned the channels looking for something else and discovered that the Cartoon Network was showing the 2006 Ultimate Avengers animated flick. Although I had missed an hour of it, I went ahead and watched the rest.

And even tho' the artwork was passable and the story alright, as usual with any movie adaptation of comic book characters, there were parts which peaved me with unneccisary changes to the characters themselves.

The most obvious one was changing Nick Fury's race from white to black. "Why" producers deem it a necessity to to destroy 40 years of continuity in a comic book is beyond my understanding. Would they make The Black Panther, white? Or, "Black Goliath"? Why not just include a black hero in the group? I mean, they've already screwed up any original storylines anyway, so say if The Black Panther had been added, what difference would it had made to the movie? I just don't get it on such changes. Is there no one there from Marvel Comics that advises those who made the flick? Does no one at Marvel ever look at the actual history of their characters anymore? wasn't just that particular change.

Besides screwing around with Thor's costume, they made him a boozer, holding a keg of meade under an arm and constantly beltin' them down. So now we have an Asguardian god that's an alcoholic. Great example for the kids, there, guys.

Then then made Henry Pym (aka "Antman", "Giantman", whatever) some smart aleck character. Pym was originally a extremely serious scientist attempting to find ways to help mankind. Not some college drop out with a bad attitude.

Then they revealed "Iron Man's" identity (as Tony Stark) to the rest of The Avengers. This was always an interesting part of Avengers storylines that the guy that was getting "the tab" on all of the team's expensives, was actually one of their members and no one knew it but he. Once again, another 40 years of continuity down the toilet.'ve made some interesting live-action flicks of your heroes in the past few years...but frankly, this one sucked. I think you need to be watching what DC's done with their characters. They may not be exactly as they are in the comics, but at least they have something called personality.

Friday, April 21, 2006

"OPG Concerns"

Seems to be a lot of conflict regarding the new Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide this year. Seems they've eliminated the Grading Section. Now...what good is a price guide that relies on listing of different condition grades without an explanation of what conditions such grades should be?

Furthermore, why would they eliminate this in the first place when all other editions have had this section? Could it be that this company is publishing a new "Grading Guide" themselves and wants everyone to have to purchase a seperate book? Hmmmmmmm?

Well...that;'s they way A LOT of fans & collectors see it, and, quite frankly, they're pissed.

Me? I only buy a new OPG every 2 or 3 years. The types of comics I collect and the grades they're usually in don't change that much off and on. And I personally don't collect comics for their monetary value, but for their entertainment value. But...if I could make some changes to this publication, the following would be :

1) Alphabetize everything. Combine ALL of the listings no matter what the age of the book, eliminating the seperate Platinum and Victorian sections. Dump the BLB ("Big Little Books")section altogether.

2) No ads except for a listing of comic shops in each state and stick that in the rear of the book (OTHER books you buy have no ads, so "why" this one?)

3) The Gallery sections fine; I like seeing old covers, but go back to the "4-t-a-page" format (no full pagers) and no reproductions of the original artwork for the Guide's covers.

4) No Price Listing for what they think back issues of the OPG are worth.

5) Only ONE main article per volume (on whatever the theme of that particular volume's about.)

6) Definately a Grading Guide for the idiots that buy this or they'll all think their comics are in Mint!

7) No Market reports. Comic Book Dealers already know what's selling and what is not.

8) A true value reflection of what "bulk" buying is really worth.i.e., re: modern comics from 1990 to Present.

9) Only one cover version, please! Extra cover art means extra cost. Want to make this Guide more attractive to me as a Buyer? Lower that price!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Fred Says...."

Was going to post some political comments today regarding the Easter Egg Roll last Monday on The White House Lawn, but I think I'll just let that slide. I mean, it's all a conflict between people, mainly of the Christian belief, who claimed having gay couples (which were designating themselves as gay) were making a political statement, when the whole thing was about fun for the kids. But, you know, Easter Bunnies and eggs have absolutely nothing to do with Chritianity anyway, since they're pagan symbols. So...let's just move on to something else instead.

Let's talk about the above comic magazine I got in today's mail, published by FantaCo in 1980, all of which is written and drawn by Fred Hembeck (Fred's page has a link in the right-hand column).

Funny stuff!

The caption on the cover pretty much says it all: "Jonn Jonzz meets The Human Torch, Jonah Hex Meets Archie, Power Man Meets Power Girl, and much, much more!" All in Fred's unique style, which, is pretty much of a hoot! I especially enjoyed the app.'s of the Charlton versions of Abbott & Costello (my fave of the late 1960's-early 70's humor comics!)

This is one of those late bronze age-type mags that I miss seeing around these days. Thank goodness for blog sites!

Monday, April 17, 2006

"New BEATLES Sightings"

Got in a copy of Beatlology magazine from 2005 that I recently won on an auction. The main reason I wanted this issue is because of an article which appeared in in regarding "Beatles App.s In Comic Books".

I found the article pretty accurate. A few mistakes and typos listing the incorrect number of an issue, or perhaps a different interpretation of the information than I have in my own "Beatles & Bizarros" blog page , but overall, not bad. (I can't say this as a fact, but I have a feelin' that this writer has visited my site on occasion due to the esoteric listings which are a reflection of many of those I've got).

The writer listed 114 app.'s and interestingly enough, I had all except for 12 of these already listed myself. After much close and careful research on those particular listings, I was able to narrow that down even more so that there was only 7 that I didn't have, and those I added more information to (such as specifics of the app.'s, month dates, etc.), and now those are listed on my site as well.

Here following is a list of what new additions there are to the list:

Regular comics:

The One Lmt. Series (Marvel) #6 (5/86) Cameo.

Barbie (Marvel) 42 (6/94) App.

Thrillkiller (DC) 1 (1/97) Cameo.

Direct Sale comics:

Night Life (Strawberry Jam) #1 (1986) App.

Music Comics On Tour: The Beatles (Personality Comics) 1 & 2 (BOTH 1992) Covers & app.'s/ NOTE: There's a Lmt. Edition version of No.1 that also exists which contains Trading Card Inserts and has a higher cover price.

Strangers In Paradice (Abstract Studios) #66 (6/2004) John (Lennon) Tribute Page.

Taking a quick count of the number of listings I personally have, it's approx. 250 such, not just in comic books, but also in comic book related magazines, comic book trade paperbacks and regular-size comic book related paperbacks. Not to brag, but honestly, I think it's probably the most complete listings of app.s, parodies, cameos, "mentions", etc. anywhere around (but...I could always be wrong).

Beatles & Bizarros was my first blog site, predating this one by several months, and it wouldn't have been possible had it not been for several of my good friends over on The Comics Chat Board (also see link) who helped me gather, correct and add new listings from time to time (so, Thanks, Guys & Gals!)
And, I'm always looking for more referances to "The Fab Four" in comics, as well as any information where I may have a question mark next to the listing, or, corrections to any mistakes I've made, so as usual, any additional help is always appreciated. I'm possitive there's more app.'s, cameos and the like appearing in various issues of titles published by Revolutionary Comics, especially of such performers as Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, etc. So, if anyone out there has any of those issues, what I need (as always) are specifics: Issue #'s, month and year date of issue, and a small summary. (Thanks!)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Happy Easter"

Wishing all a Good Easter Sunday!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"Well, I'm------"

Went to refinance my house yesterday. Was hoping for maybe a lower monthly payment, but it only reduced it by a dollar per payment. (Oh,well.) Anyway, this ol' homestead will finally be paid off in a mere ten years...if I make it that long. That'd be right before retirement age of 65. Well...maybe I can eventually double-up on some payments and get it done before then. One never knows what ten years will bring...or even 10 minutes.

The bank where we have our loan is about a 45 minute drive from here, and we got there around 10AM, and the whole transaction took less than a half an hour, so we went around to a local mall and then the antique mall where I always buy some comics.

At theregular type mall, there's a store called Deals, and everything in in it costs no more than one dollar. I picked up a DVD that was nice. It had the original silent version of "The Lost World", plus the 1950's hooter The Giant Gila Monster(wild teenagers, a giant lizard and a hot rod full of T.N.T.---what more can you ask!?), AND even a 1940's Superman cartoon ("The Artic Giant") all on the same disc! A dollar well spent for over two hours of movie entertainment.

And while my wife was still piddlin' around in a craft shop there I walked into a Christian bookstore to see what religious comics they currently handled. I noticed several issues of Archangels:The Saga for sale, but their outrageous cover price ($4.50 a "pop") kept me from picking them up. Interesting-looking comic, tho', and some nice artwork.

Then on over to the antique mall, where previously I saw a box on one table, one that'd been sitting there a good 8 months and from which I'd bought comics from before for a just .35 each (boarded and bagged at that!). I'd already pulled out anything really good from the box, but I did recall a handful of issues of First Comics' The Badger that I thought I might read. So I headed for that table first. Not only were all the comics now gone, but the box as well! Someone must have thought them all worth that price and cleaned that bunch out, alas.

So I went to another set up with comics and bought 7 misc. comics, mostly DC's. There was some gems in the bunch. A DC Comics Presents #77, which is a pre-his-own-title app. of "Animal Man", plus app.'s by other odd silver-age DC characters like "Dolphin", and "Congorilla" and "Rip Hunter" (and even a cameo of "The Faceless Creature" from old Strange Adventures stories). I'd looked for this issue for some time, but oddly had missed seeing it there on previous visits. Quickly, I snatched that up (now if I can only find the No.78 where it's continued!). Along with that issue of that title, I also found a #96, plus a Secret Origins V2 #24, both of which are app.'s of "The Blue Devil", a personal favorite of mine from the 1980's. Recently completing a set of his own title, these make my collection of him pretty complete.

Another "gem" I found was a copy of Charlton's E-Man #1, from 1973, which is his first app. and origin. It's also my favorite drawn character by Joe Staton.

Then I picked up two misc. issues of Action from the 1980's, one with a "Captain Strong" app. (a take-off on "Popeye"), and another with Giffen art that had a take-off of "Asterix the Gaul". Not sure just how many issues Giffen drew of various Superman's and Actions, but I really liked all of them I ever saw.

And the other comics I found was the scarcer last issue of the first run of Firestorm (#5). (I don't think I've ever had that issue.)

Then back home to go pick up the weekly paycheck and deposit that and chores around here, so it was a pretty full day.

But not over. After our evening meal, my wife and I decided to walk around the town and look at the various damage from the hail 1 week ago today during the tornado. Stained-glass church windows, some nearly 100 years old, had been totally smashed, any house facing the west which had vinyl siding was pitted and many, many glasses broken. I was talking to one guy who does local repairs, and he said that he hardly had time to do such repairs because everyone needed estimates. The local insurance company had well over 600 claims! He said that he'd work all day, then had to do estimates half the night, and couldn't do any more houses for a good six months.

The problem with this one-horse-town-insurance-company is (and the reason for the top little notation photo), that they bought out all of the other insurance firms around. So now, instead of handling two or two claims companies, they handle at least a half a dozen. My folks have their's thru them with Winfield, and anyone with claims under that company, an adjuster has already visited the sight, made estimates and written them a check for damages (in fact, my folks are already having their damage repaired and turned in their claim after I did). Unfortunately, I have MY insurance underwritten with the Planter's Co., which has yet to even send an adjuster around to check out this place. I guess Winfield only wants people who pay a high premium and have a low deductible (my folk's is $150.;mine's $500.).

Of course, that may be an unfair evaluation due to the large number of local damage claims. We'll see what happens, another week or so.

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Wax On----"

If there was a place that, no longer exists, but that you could travel back in time to (some place that you personally had been to), what place would it be?

To me it'd be The Magazine Exchange, a bookstore that existed in the pre 1975 days on the corner of 642 East Chestnut Street in Louisville, Kentucky.

This store was run for many years by Mr. & Mrs. Gene Barker. They sold old magazines, paperbacks, comics, hardcovers, and even pulp magazines from the 1930-50's. As a young teen collecting comics, it was a treasure-trove for me.

When I first visited the shop circa 1964 or 'early '65, comics were still sold for six cents there. The first time I visited, I bought around $12.00 worth. Well, okay, go my dad bought them for me, which was extremely generous of him considering that twelve bucks was a considerable amount of money back then. But I had 200 comics, all from the 1950-60's, and from all sorts of publishers.

In later visits I recall buying many old pulps magazines, The Spider, and SF types, and Boy's Life Magazines with "Trigian Empire" strips, an many paperbacks, a Mexican edition reprint of an E.C., and, of course, just tons and tons of comic books.

He finally raised his price to a dime a book around 1969, and it stayed that way for a couple of years until a certain someone (whose name you would instantly recognize) "clued him in" to what comics were bringing with the then emmerging collectors' market. I visited the Barker's shop up until 1970 or so before my interest back then went towards "other" interests, and the whole block where once stood The Magazine Exchange was been torn down to make room for various hospital a good thirt years ago now, but those 5 or so years of driving almost 90 miles just to get to that shop and buy books will always be a great collecting memory.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Just Some of the Clean-Up"

After working all day yesterday my usual 9-1/2 hours at work, I came home and raked up tiny twigs from the tornado of late for a good two hours. I raked them onto a tarp to drag off to the brush pile. The thing must have weighed close to a hundred pounds; the stack was a good five foot square by two foot tall!

And there's still thousands of tiny twigs on the yard, even after another raking today and mowing. I spend yet another solid five hours just doing yard work today on my day off. Putting all the wood my wife had saved for various craft projects and the like around the back just so it couldn't be viewed from the road, sweeping off the road in front of my house of twings and cleaning out the water gulley, picking up broken glass and just general clean-up. I also heard from my insurance company who said an adjuster would be getting in touch with me in a day or two.

And I killed a two-foot snake who was hiding under some rotting wood. I don't usually kill snakes and they don't bother me as long as I see them in time. But this one had an attitude and was trying to bite me, and, actually, I think it was a copperhead. Not sure. Just know it's a dead snake now.

And that's been the entirity of today. Now I'm worn out and trying to relax a while since I have another two days at work before I get another day off. 'Course, that day I've got to drive a good fifty miles to the bank who holds the morgage on this house for it's five year refinancing, go pick up my pay check and deposit it, etc.

It never seems to end.

Monday, April 10, 2006

"Misc. Magazine-Talk"

Found 14 misc. issues of The Good Ol' Days magazine, dating from 1978 to 1985, with one issue from '01. Most in decent enough shape; couple from the mid 80's missing front covers but otherwise complete. I always liked this magazine, and can recall buying copies of it as far back as the late 1960's.

Wanted this really for the full page vintage comic pages they reproduce, as in any issue there's 1 to 4 such pages with characters such as "Little Orphan Annie, Maggie & Jiggs, Freckles, Fritzi Ritz, Mutt & Jeff," etc., but there's lots of other interesting nostalgic stuff in them as well. Photos of towns from 100 years ago, or antique cars and the like.

The publication, like all magazines, has really escalated in cover price. The first ones I ever bought were probably fifty centers, but these ones I got here from the 1970's were already seventy-five cents, and that single one from 2001 was a whippin' $3.99(and nowhere as good in content). About like MAD Magazine. The first ones I ever bought were a quarter, then they raised their price to thirty cents around 1965, and I think they're around $3.99 a copy as well now. Been quite a while since I bought a MAD off the newstands. In fact, I may have only purchased a single issue since Warner took them over (which has now been several years).

Was going to buy the first issue of MAD For Kids, a new title they'd released, but never saw that one around here. But, of course, we have terrible distribution on anything published of 'real" interest to me. The only newstands I know of in this town are either in a grocery store or a drug store, and neither carry comics anymore. I think the last comic book I ever saw was maybe some Archie title a year or so back, and the last super-hero title was maybe THOR V2 #49 or so. I suppose there's just not enough sales to warrent carrying comics here anymore (a shame, really).

"Spinner" racks disapeared completely from this area sometime in the late 1990's. Titles such as X-Men were up to around #30 then, & Wolverine around #90, and the 1996 Supergirl title title I recall seeing on the last of such racks may have been up to about #9. Probably the last such comics were had available were in 1998 or '99.

And that's when I lost track of many titles, especially the Superman books which I had previously followed pretty close. It was right after "The Reign of Supermen" and "Superman Returns" cross-overs that they vanished from local stands.

I've been thinking about magazine-size comics I used to buy as well. And, probably when I say magazine comics most would think of Creepy, Eerie or other Warren pubs, the various 70's Marvel Dracula Lives, or Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu, or even MAD Magazine.

But I'm really thinking of those independent publishers of the 1970-80's who gave us such titles as Elfquest, A Distant Soil, The Flaming Carrot one-shot (as well as "Visions"), Thunderbunny, Particle Dreams, the Hembeck books, or Star*Reach. All of these (save MAD) have disapeared in that magazine-format, but I always enjoyed them although they were in B&W. I liked the larger artwork; showed more detail.

(Today's blog dedicated to the memory of my daughter Alicia Donna Puckett Doan on what would have been her 33rd. Birthday. I miss you, sweetheart.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"A Little of Everything Today"

April the 8th. (yesterday) was my folk's 63rd. Wedding Anniversary! Congrates to them both for 63 years of faithfulness. (Gee...63 years. I might have half of that if I added ALL my marriages together. *heh*)

We had one estimate on our tornado damage yesterday of $2,500. The glass for the windows alone is $600. We have a $500. deductible, so it looks like we may have to pay out a bit due to Mother Nature's Fury of April 7th.

I don't normally plug auctions, but this one here is for a really good cause. Having lost my mother-in-law 6 years ago to cancer, and my father-in-law gravely ill from it, I'd appreciate anyone who can help to fight against such happening to others. (You never know. That may some day be me...or YOU... hoping to find a cure because we have it ourselves.) This is a very honest dealer who I highly recommend. I've bought (and even sold) to her personally. (Thanks!)

I bought a full run of the Dark Horse title, John Byrne's Next Men yesterday, and feel like I got a good deal. The guy charged me $25. for #'s 0, 1 thru 30 complete along with the "2112" special. #21 has the first app.(?) of "Hellboy" . Since the #21 itself goes for anything from $10-$25 by itself, and the "2112" special having a cover price of $9.99 (and all of the issues being in Nr. Mint), I feel I did well on this even though I do have a handful of duplicates I'll have to resell.

Well, when the guy blew the insulation into our attic he had to use our outlets. I had thought that anyone with that sort of machinery would also have a gasoline-powered generator to handle the equiptment, And I wasn't too keen on him doing this in the first place as this is an old house with fuse boxes rather than breakers. As it happened, he blew a fuse and we had to change outlets to finish the job. The thing is, that was the one which powered my washing machine and clothes are piling up! I've already changed out the 20 amp, with no luck, as well as the 30 amp. All that's left in that box are 2/15 amp fuses (and I don't see that powering the washer). If it's not them, then it has to be the "bus" fuses, which are difficult to locate in this town. Always something. I've got an electrician coming Monday to use a tester on the box and at least tell me "which" fuses have to be changed, and hope that's all that's wrong with it.

And...I "think" that JLUnlmt. episode I've been wanting to see for the past month and 1/2 will be on NEXT Saturday night (the 15th.). It's already been put on hold a half a dozen times now.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"The Tornado of April 7th.,2006"

It began around 1:30PM CST, the rain, that is, and shortly afterwards began storming and hailing. Storm warnings began coming over the radio, then tornado warnings! The cat had already ran under the bed. The dreaded sound of a frieght train began outside.

Suddenly, the noice of ice pelting and breaking glass began on one side of the house, and the winds howled. I got under the pc desk here in a middle room in the center of the house. 10 minutes later, the storm had blown over.

I went outside to access the damage. Right away I saw 2 to 3 inches of hail everywhere: the yard, the sidewalks, the street. 1,000s of tiny branches, and some larger ones covered the yard. The gutters were running over with quarter-size pellets of ice. On the neighbor's front steps it was piled up 10-12 inches!

I checked my car; no damage there, fortunately, but then ... I looked at the side of the house that was facing the storm. 8 windows were smashed, and the vinyl siding looked like The Army had used it for target practise. Fortunately here, no one was hurt, but even worst damage had happened around 30 miles from this town where it flattened several buildings and houses.

As it was, my house appeared to have had the worst damage on the street. One neighbor had their large picture window smashed, and another, an upstairs window and large flower pots destroyed. I called my insurance agent, and they said that due to the number of reports already in, for me to do temporary repairs and save all the bills and estimates of repair costs.

The first photo will show the amount of hail on the yard and road, and the 2nd. will show the damage to part of one side of the house.

Photo 1

Photo 2

The hail was so thick that 5 hours later, it still hadn't melted all off, and the temperature's been in the 65-70 degree range. A friend of mine that lives approx. 20 miles from here called and said hail had broken out the front windshield of his car. He said the ice was about twice the size of a golf ball.

I have personally lived around here off and on for 50 years. Some of my neighbors are in their 80s and lived here most, if not all, of their lives. This is the closest thing they've ever seen to a tornado striking the town.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Other Hands At Work"

Over on Dial B For Blog (see link towards the bottom of the list on the far right of this page) "Robby Reed" occasionally does blogs of various DC Giant Hand cover appearances. But just so you don't think that DC Comics did that exclusively, above is such a cover from First Comics' Alter Ego Limited Series No. 2 (7/86).

I always liked this series written by Roy Thomas. I must admit that I'm not the "biggest" Thomas fan around, but he did have his high-points in comics to me, such as the "Kree/Skrull War" issues of The Avengers, his Captain Marvels (the issues drawn by Gil Kane) and his Conans. I do feel that he's better at reviving and telling stories of the DC Golden Age characters a bit better than others, perhaps. But, doing this has always been a specialty of Thomas.

Anyway. in the Alter Ego Lmt. Series, Thomas uses (can't really say, "revives" since some of these aleady had been done so) some of the Quality and Hillman characters/heroes. (You'll notice that the above is also an "atomic explosion" cover, as well.)

The Alter Ego comic, of course, is named after the Alter Ego fanzine, that Jerry Bails and he did in the 1960's, and each issue of that seemed to always contain some material regarding GA characters. Roy Thomas was one of those big name fans with a "Cinderella Story" of becoming a professional writer for comic books, and he succeeded very well at it. He's always been a writer of which I've held "some" high regard, even if I didn't like everything he ever wrote.

But...that can be said by me about anyone's work, whether he be a writer or an artist whose work I've every enjoyed. I mean, I really love Steve Ditko's late 1950's and early 60's artwork, but not that "crazy" about some of his art afterwards. My favorite Steranko period will always been the "Nick Fury's" in the latter 1960's, and Infantino's best work to me will always be his "Adam Strange" and "The Flash" silver-age issues. It's not that I didn't like their work after these periods at all, but...they're just my personal favorites.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Work At Work, Then Work At Home"

When my wife got home yesterday afternoon, she went outside to do some yard work, and I ended up getting in the mood to do the same. We pulled out things around the house and raked up all the leaves still left from last Autumn, lopped down bushes and shaped up trees, replanted some flowers, opened up the crawl-space under the house so it could breath, and generally got the outside in better shape. We worked on this for about 2 hours. Tired, but must admit, it looks better now.

When I have time on my next day off I still have some cleaning up around the shop to do, which I figure will take at least another 2 hrs. or better. I have so very many "projects" planned that I want to finish before the end of this year. Like scraping off the paint from the wood areas around the place and repainting, and repainting the metal part of the roof in the front. And hauling off junk and emptying out the shop better. And enclosing the screened-in back porch as a storage area. And tearing out the old sidewalk and repouring it. And putting new panels in three rooms, even dropping the ceiling some to conserve heat. There's just so much to do, and so little extra time to do it all.

Like tonight, after working all day, I had to get up in that attic and crawl around for an hour, trying to cover the open space over the bathroom area. That area still leaks (and I can't get it to completely stop) so we decided in blow the insulation in everything except that space. There's an opening above the dropped ceiling that's 8 or 9 inches, but it's the whole length of that room, so I had to try to staple plastic and cover it up where the insulation wouldn't be blown into it. My knees are sore now from crawling on the rafters. Of course, I "could" have done all of this yesterday had my wife informed me she was calling the guy to come do it tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Relaxing Day"

Thought since I was just sitting around here today relaxing on an occasional day off from work that I'd test the waters on sales for the first time this year and actually list something on an auction (something I haven't tried for several months).

So I put all of these duplicates I had of Doom Patrol on there just to see how they go. There was nearly 40 of them that I had accumulated from purchasing various lots, attempting to complete sets. As per my wife and my agreement, if someone buys them and pays by money order, the money goes into our bank account, but if they pay by PayPal, then I can use them to buy "whatever". ( There's only three sets of any "modern" comics I'm currently trying to complete, that being the 1987 DC/Vertigo Doom Patrol, or, Animal Man, or the 1996 series of Supergirl, needing maybe 30 issues among the three titles.)

I was really wanting to wait until I had completed the '87 DP series until I listed all the dup's, but ...I don't see that happening anytime soon, so maybe these will sell and I can just turn the $ over into finally completing this set.

Also, for the first time, I'm trying the Post Office's new "box priority" type mailing, where they have two various size boxes that you can cram full of "whatever" and send at a flat rate of $8.10 (which is definately cheaper than previously attempting to send everything priorirty mail, as a lot such as this before would have been upwards of $12. postage!)

A correction to a post a few days ago. I mentioned Jim Aparo being the artist on "The Spectre VS. Dr.13" stories which appeared in DC's Ghosts 97-99, but when the #97 arrived it wasn't him at all on the interior art; rather Michael Adams & Tex Blaisdell. (The covers to these issues ARE by Aparo, however, if that's any consulation, or at least #'s 97 & 97 as I don't believe The Spectre is on the cover of 99.)

Today's date is interesting: April 5th., 2006, or...04/05/06, which won't happen again for 100 years! Someone else pointed this out to me as well, that June the 6th., of this year should be interesting , since that'll be: 06/06/06!

And finally, the 14th. of next month will be my 2 year anniversary blogging here on "Elmo's Junction", and, if I time it just so-so, my 300th. post as well! I'd like to plan something special for that day (haven't figured out just "what" yet, tho').

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"My New Color Printer"

One of my nieces took several family photos with her digital last Sunday and , my wife wanting copies, asked her to email them to us. Knowing that my old printer was shot, she went out and picked up a new disposable printer: a Lexmark Z730.

Now, Lexmarks are "okay" as far as cheap printers go. I mean, their quality for what I need them for is just fine. But they do have a number of problems.

The first one of these I ever got was a Z11, which I used for a good two years until I couldn't find cartridges for them anymore because Lexmark decided to discontinue that model. Plus, the cartridges are fairly expensive; at least $30-$35 a pop. But, if you just use them to print out an occasional invoice, they can last one quite a while.

So after that model, I got a Z25, which worked just fine as well for a couple years until the company decided as well to discontinue THAT model! You see, here's how that company makes its loot.

They get you hooked on some model of their product, then discontinue it and make a NEW product. However, the cartrides made for these printers only work on one particular model. So, say you still got a good cartridge from a previous printer, best just to toss it and give it to someone that still has a workable model of that printer 'cause it won't do you any good on the new one.

Then, as well, not all of their USB Cables work on the same printer. I was fortunate this time that the same one worked on the new model.. Haven't priced an ink cartride yet, but I'm sure it'll be costly. They always seem to supply you with a "starter" cartridge, but it won't last long, and a cartridge cost you about as much as the printer itself. One good aspect to this Z730 is that it only needs ONE cartridge rather than two (which the previous one did--both a black and white AND a seperate color one).

I did have problems getting this one to install properly. First time I tried it it kept giving me "bad port" messages, but I just knew this cable was fine, so I uninstalled the whole thing, shut down all extra windows, eliminated any programs from previous printers, temporarily disabled my "Ad-Aware" program, then REinstalled the whole thing and now it's fine. But as for just a very useful type of printer, if you can find a good workable one at some flea market and have the download programs, and all you want to do if work-type invoices, the old "dot matrix" printers are probably the cheapest (and you can still find the ribbon-cartridges for them cheap as well!)

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Sunday get Together"

Except for a few severe thunderstorms yesterday, my wife's family re-union (or sorts) went without a hitch. Basically, it was a dinner for all of her immediate family to get together with her dad who, as you know if you read this blog site, is terminally ill.

All three of her sisters, all 6 of her neices, plus their husbands, boy friends and / or kids all showed up, plus her great aunt; a get-together of about twenty people.

The location was out in the country, a good 6 miles thru farm lands from any sort of a town, and the scenery out that way is quite beautiful this time of the year, with the hillsides aglow in colors of green and violet (from the clover and "chickweed"). Many a fresh plowed field there awaits the spring planting, and we're not talking about small fields in that area, but a couple of dozen acres. The farms are few and seperated by quite large planting areas, at times, a few miles apart.

One of the odder sights you can encounter on the trip to this location is the Round House, which was originally a silo which the owner lined the outside walls with local limestone blocks and turned into a house in, about, 1971. A very unique dwelling place, but let's hope they don't have a cat since it'd be like the time "Fat Freddy's Cat" was in a teepee and couldn't find a corner to piss in!


From the dining location one can look out any window from this hilltop and see for several miles in any direction. I'm sure a lot of people like this sort of isolation, but not myself personally, never liking to be stuck in such a place if bad winter weather sets in. But I suppose that if one is prepared for such and works on the location itself, there wouldn't be much need of travel during those times.

We were gone basically 7 hours today from the time we left till we returned, driving back thru a very heavy downpour. Tornado watches and warning were in affect around here, but none materialized here.

BTW, I located 4 different ones of those "California Raisin" PVC's after visiting 2 antique stores, one yard sale and two flea markets and shelling out seven bucks Saturday, but they were indeed the ones we needed to give to her dad, so at least that turned out right for a change, and I didn't have to take then from my own personal collection of such.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"Happy Birthday, Dad!"

Today my father, William E. ("Eddie") Puckett turns 86 years old (born: April 2nd., 1920).

The above photo was taken in 1963, when dad was 43 years old (and I, looking over him, at age 11); half of the age he is today. In his hands is a copy of aCracked Magazine which I had at that time. It is the only time I can ever recall my dad looking at any of the comics or magazines I ever bought or collected, and I always thought it was a kick that my mom caught this moment on film!

This was/is a typical pose for dad, sitting in his recliner and relaxing after a hard day's work, which was then at a Texaco gas station (for which he worked for 13 years), and about 1 year before he got a job at the local water company for which he worked from 1964 until he retired at age 65 in 1985.

I've tried to decide exactly what "life lessons" my dad ever taught me. I guess they were things like honesty and hard work do eventually pay off, and that even if you don't have some fancy education, one can still make a living and raise a family. For dad never finished high school. In fact, he never even finished grammer school having to leave in the 4th. grade to work on his father's farm. But that never kept him from always having a job.

He worked on farms stripping tobacco, or as a taxi driver, or as a guard at a cigarette factory (during World War II where he "tried" to join the armed services a number of times, always to be turned down because he was so underweight), local re-dryers, and finally at the gas station and the water company.

Dad always did mostly manual work and wasn't afraid of it or did I ever heard him complain about it. He dug ditches by hand before the days of automated digging machines, and then after a hard day at work, would come home and mow the yard or do any of a number of house-type projects.

I feel very fortunate to still have both him and my mother among the living.

He's always been faithful to my mom, his one wife of 63 years, and even when times were hard he never let his family do without the necessities of life.

And he never once said for me to stop reading those damn funny books.

What more can one ask of a father?

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

"April Fool's Day!"

Very busy during that 5 hrs. I agreed to work today during "the sale". In fact, between 8AM-9:30AM, I had already sold two large trailers. Furniture which had been marked down was flying outta there like it had wings, plus many other large items and tons o'little stuff. It was pretty steady all the way thru the shift.

Plus one of the local radio stations did a remote with giveaways and a drawing or two, and gave out free soft drinks and sandwiches (who says there ain't no free lunch?), and t-shirts and stickers and in pens, etc. Went over very well.

The female DJ of the couple who came today I hadn't seen but 2 or 3 times in the past 25 years when we worked together at a local Pizza Hut, and we got "caught up" on old times.

Hey! I even got on the air a couple of times and "hammed it up" with the DJ telling the listeners of all the good deals we had going. But, by 1:PM, I was good and ready to get outta that place.

Went by the flea markets and picked up a little handful of fifty cent comics (nothing "special"; just reading material), then on home where I mowed parts of the yard where the grass looked the worst for the first time of the year. Temperatures were upwards to the 80 degree mark, and I got fairly hot!

And tomorrow is my father's 86th. birthday, God love him! 86 years old and still able to get around and ride his riding lawn mower and go to church and putter in the yard. Don't think I'll be that capable at that age (IF I make it that long).

Being "April Fool's Day", things went rather uneventful. Nobody pulled any tricks on me. I think my co-workers were all just too busy to remember what day it was!