Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Since the Weekend"

Okay. So it wasn't the first time I'd seen these Golden-Age characters. I had had glimpses of them in Index fanzines published by Jerry Bails and Roy Thomas, and small samples of them in a few issues of The Flash, or Jules Feiffer's "The Great Comic Book Heroes". But this was the first time I ever saw them actually featured on the cover of a comic book as such. And being an avid fan of The Justice League of America, it thrilled me to no end as an eleven year old to see that cover baiting me to spend my twelve cents on it at the local drug store magazine rack.

The first character I noticed was "Dr. Fate". Whether is was the mystery the helmet covering his entire face, or the dashing blue and gold costume, he immediately became my favorite of the team. I'm speaking, of course, of the legendary Justice Society of America.

It lead me to the two issues of DC's Showcase (#'s 55 & 56, circa 1965) being burned into my pre-teen mind as two of the finest issues of any comic book DC Comics produced in the 1960's. It lead me to The Brave & the Bold issues featuring other GA JSA heroes/heroines, and the later Showcase issues of "The Spectre". But Dr. Fate still remained my favorite, perhaps because he was a mystic and magic really interested me as a kid as much with him as over at Marvel Comics with those wonderful stories of "Dr. Strange".

I recently found a "reader copy" of the above pictured comic again on eBay for little of nothing and clamped down hard on a bid just to re-obtain it to relive a few childhood memories. The smell of newsprint worked as a time machine and once again I was in 1963. (It was indeed a gentler time.)

And being off from work this weekend I got a chance to watch both "The Legion of Super-Heroes" as well as "The Batman" animated shows this morning on the CW Network. The LOSHs was a new episode as was The Batman (or, "new to ME" as I hadn't seen either of them). The LOSHs revolved around the origin of "Lightning Lad" and tied into the original continuity of the character quite a bit, as it had him and both his brother and sister all obtaining lightning powers at the same time. His brother, of course, went on to become the villinous "Lightning Lord", and his sister was at first "Lightning Lass". In fact, in early Legion stories Lightning Lad got himself killed and the Legionnaires thought that he'd come back from the dead in one story, only to find out it was his twin sister disguising herself as her brother. (In later tales she lost the lightning power, or rather, it was transformed into a new power to make objects super-light-weight, and she renamed herself "Light Lass").

In this particular episode Lightning Lad lost his arm in a battle, and in the 1960's series of LOSHs he did as well when attacked by a space whale or some such thing, and it was replaced, just like in this animated version, with a bionic one.

But in the original series Lightning Lass was the same age as her brothers and here she gets turned into this energy cloud which she stays as for ten years until the combined forces of The Legion and L.Lord change her back into the eight or nine year old she was when the original origin of their powers happened. Also, "in the comics", Lightning LORD remained as a villian, where in this cartoon version he reforms. Anyway... it wasn't "too" off-base from the premiere storyline and was pretty damn good.

In The Batman episode, "The Joker" becomes cyber and enhanced with nano-shape-shifting-bots and is finally defeated with the aid of Bats and a cyber-version of "Nightwing" (the identity the adult Dick Grayson "Robin" took), and I blieve it's maybe the first time we ever see Nightwing incorported into the particular version of The Batman animated series. (I have no problems with this new Bats animated series save for The Joker's hair, but I'm finally getting a bit more used to this look.)

And today the temps here didn't get as high as promised by our local weather station. In fact, it was just barely in the 40's with a little snow (which didn't stick). Higher temperatures are supposed to move in this week with a little rain.

I really didn't do much today but rest (for a change). That and I took my elderly mother to the grocery store. I "tried" to chop out a few roots that had broken ground in this yard but the axe handle was rotten and after 5 or 6 licks that busted loose. Guess I'll have to try that next time with a chain saw.

Something I found a little downhearted is the fact that our local grocery store Houchen's Market, will soon be no more. In fact, there won't be a Houchen's chain at all as it's been bought out by IGA. This will end a long history of these stores here in the cave area of South-Central, Kentucky, first beginning in the early 1900's in a small store around 20 miles from here out in the country.

Their first location in this town was in the central area of our Main Street in the 1940's, then another location on Water Street in the 1950's. In the early 1960's a new store was built (right behind where I live, in fact) and it's been there ever since. (Saturday: 01/26/08)

With milder temperatures today I finally waddled outside after sleeping in until 9:30 AM (about 4 hours longer than I usually stay in bed), went down to my mom's and washed a load of clothes, started up the pick-up and let it run a while. I noticed that there was at least 8 oz. of anti-freeze in the passenger side floorboard. I'm not sure if this comes from a leak of some hose or was over-fill, but I cleaned that up and added more to it and come my next day off will try to check these hoses for repair.

While down there I also went and looked over the 2,200 odd comic books and approx. 300 other items (scifi paperbacks, hardcovers, magazines, etc.) that I have in storage to decide just what to do with these. I've already gone back through this large lot a few times and pulled about anything that I thought would even possibly interest me to keep, so I think the next time that I actually have some time, I'll try to organize this mess into different companies and titles and even alphabetize them. Then I'll pull me some lots to put on auction of 40 books or so each. I can fit 40 comics into one of those $8. "ships all" sort'a priority boxes and mail it for a flat rate of $8.00, so I think this might be my best option since I've yet to find a dealer that wants the entire bunch'a boxes. When I finally get around to listing these I'll mention it here and post a link just in case anyone out there wants to pick up some cheap deals.

Then I went out to the shed and got the electric chainsaw and when I returned home and got my washed clothes into the dryer, went outside with that and a couple of prybars and chisels, hammer, etc., and worked on getting up some of these large tree roots that have broken ground. Not only are those a pain to mow over and good for nothing more than bending a lawnmower blade, but tree roots are a problem with blocking my sewer lines (which you may recall I mentioned having to pay a plumber around $70. just to clean out said lines for drainage here recently). I mentioned to my wife that we really need to just have these three large trees cut down.

The good aspect for having large trees is, of course, shade in the Summer and perhaps less expensive cooling bills. They attract birds and squirrels for which I have feed boxes hung. However...the bad aspects to having trees (at least to me) far outweighs that. For it takes me at least 8 weeks of off-and-on raking my yard in the Fall (as well as filling my neighbors' yards with such), the before-mentioned threat of clogging sewer lines with their roots, a constant picking up of various size limbs for disposal, plus a threat of a large limb falling either on my house and damaging the roof, or on power lines knocking those out (which wouldn't be very nice especially in the Winter). Besides, the feeder boxes can be hung elsewhere!

Anyway, getting back to the root of the problem, I cut out several (at least 6 or 7) from not only my yard but my neighbor's yard too, some that left holes the size of a shoebox. This is just a temporary fix on stopping those particular roots, though, but cutting them seperate from their source (i.e., the trees). There was one large knot that I worked on for some time and finally have to give up on, but at least I did damage it quite a bit and with cuts deep into it perhaps the rain will eventually rot that one out. I probably worked a good two hours on this project (and ruined two wood chisels) and plan on doing a few more at the rear of the house later on this week is the weather holds out. (Sunday: 01/27/08)

Last night we had quite a wind storm blow thru Kentucky doing damage here and there. Locally all I heard of was the roof twisted up on a motel and the Interstate exit and a few trees blow down, and here in the yard it had blown ovr some of our bird feeders and the like, but otherwise it seems everyone pretty much got thru it all okay. It did drop temperature-wise and from the 50's it's now in the 30's.

And in the mail yesterday I got in a copy of Rick Veitch's "Brat Pack" trade paperback which reprints the King Hell limited series from some years back and ties in with Veitch's "Maximoratal" series from the same company. After Veitch's dispute with DC Comics over a "Swamp Thing" story that they pulled (dealing with ST meeting Jesus) and he left that company for good, he went on to produce really even better work than was allowed in mainstream comic books , and I highly recommend any of his work especially for the independents. For those who have never read Brat Pack, perhaps you don't need to buy the original issues at all, in fact, as Veitch rewrote portions of that series and gave the whole thing somewhat of a different ending in the TPB collection (the way he really wanted it to end) and it ties into Maximortal. An "A++" in reading choices and a story which ranks well beside such classics as "Watchmen", or "The Dark Night Returns" in one's classic comic magazine collection library.(Tuesday: 01/29/08)

And I've been pretty busy here on my first of two days off this week. The number one thing I did was go down and go thru those boxes of comics and make me up 8 lots to put on ebay auctions. (HERE is a link to those interested in seeing what I'm attempting to sell at the moment, just in case you might be interested in some cheaper "lot" deals.) If these auctions do well then next week or so I'll go back thru them again and pull out yet another 6 to 8 lots for listing.

While I was down at mom's I also cleaned off her drainage grail, washed a load of clothes and started up the pick up for a while since it's turned pretty chilly. Came home, took photos of those comic lots after getting them in order and listed same, dried the clothes and did some other meger house chores as well as picking up a bunch of blkown down limbs from the yard and cleaning out the street gutter. 'Been a fairly busy day, and January is just about gonesville, daddio. (Wednesday 01/30/08).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Some Comic Book News & Reviews"

Heard that actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment today. Post-production was already underway on the next "Batman" movie in which he played The Joker.

Got in a lot of comics here lately. Speaking of Batman... one of the comics I just got in the mail is a Detective Comics #298 (1961) which is the first silver-age version/app./origin of the villian: "Clayface". It's just a "reader's copy", but one that I wanted a copy of again as it's an old childhood memory of the early issues of Bats I read. This issue also has backups of "J'onn J'onzz" and "Aquaman". Rather than Ramona Fradon drawing Aq-Man the artwork was one of artist Nick Cardy's( which was sort of surprizing that far back, and I'm sure is why he was chosen to drawn the character's own title later on).

Also in the mail lately a full set of Rick Veitch's Maximortal series (published in 7 issues by King Hell). I've always enjoyed Veitch's work and picked up a copy of his "Brat Pack" TPB recently to re-read that excellant series.

Other items that's come in was a set of DC-Vertigo's Y the Last Man on Earth 1-9 which I liked quite a bit. Although I already know how this second storyline in the series ends I'll need to cop a copy of #10 of this sometime just to complete the first two sequences.

And in #4 of "Y" I discovered yet more Beatles' references! TWO in fact in panels 2 and 3 of page 10 that mention such things/people as The Beatles, George (Harrison) and "Strawberry Fields". (These have already been duly noted over on my "Beatles & Bizarro's" blog site.)

Another series I got was the four issue Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein written by Grant Morrison. Of the 7S series I've read, this is by far one of the better ones.

I got in a set of AC Comic's Americomics 1-4 & Special 1 which are interesting as #'s 3 & 4 of the regular comic plus the Special all feature Charlton Comics characters such as "Capt. Atom, Nightshade, Blue Beetle, The Question", and even, "Atomic Mouse"! The human hero app.'s all predate their introduction by DC Comics in their "Crisis" series, and it was their first app.'s since any were published originally by Charlton.

Also from AC, FemForce 1-3, which all feature "good girl art" and semi-impressions of various GA heroines.

And finally, several issues of the two different "Just A Pilgrim" series from Black Bull Publications, all written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Ezquerra. Excellant books! Ennis, of course you know from "The Preacher" (among other titles) and Ezquerra probably did the most recognizable artwork on issues of "Judge Dread".

And now...on to NEW comics I've picked up.

Action Comics (DC) #860" is another finely illustrated issue by Gary Frank, written by Geoff Johns, and guest-stars "The Legion of Super-Heroes". So far I have no complaints about their work on this title and look forward to seeing every issue they do. (A+)

Batman (DC) #672: is also a fine issue written by Grant Morrison and features the return of the notorious "Ra's Al Ghul". Very acceptable artwork and story as well. (A)

Brave & The Bold, The (DC) #9: this time features such faves as "Dial H" w/Robby Reed teaming up with "The Metal Men", "The Blackhawks" teaming w/"The Boy Commandoes" and "Hawkman" joining forces with the current incarnation of "The Atom". I found the Blackhawk/BC teamup tale a little weak, but it was nice to see Lady Blackhawk again ("mini-skirt" and all) and the MM tale starring "Tin" was well done. (A)

Detective Comics (DC) #840: Really didn't impress me much this go around, but it was still okay. Just (to me) not one of its better issues. (B)

Fantastic Four (Marvel) #552: has "Dr. Doom" battling "The Thing" and as was on other issues a nice Michael Turner cover, but the story just doesn't have enough meat to it and it read way too fast. I'm afraid it just wasn't all "that great" this time (C)

Futurama Comics (Bongo) #34: was also somewhat of a disapointment this go around. For a change it didn't read like an animated episode as well, and there wasn't enough of "Bender" to really make me laugh that much. (B)

Justice League of America (DC) #16: starts a new storyline this issue and looks interesting "so far" with the return of the Tangent "The Atom". Although I thought this story was a bit too much of a prelude into the next issue, it was alright; just not great. (B)

Supergirl (DC) #25: introduces a new character called "Reactron" who has a fairly unique-looking costume as far as current characters go. But Kelly Puckett really needs to work a little better on the writing. Readable, but not as good as some of the previous issues. (B)

and finally...

Superman Confidential (DC) #10: was better this time with app.'s of "Darkseid" and "The Forever People", and next issue will finally be the conclussion of the Tim Sale "Kryptonite" tale. I may drop this title after that however as one can only take so many Supe's titles per month. This issue was an "A" (maybe not so next time...who knows?)

And in my personal life I've spent the better part of this day off from my regular job helping repair a broken water line which flooded my utility room floor and ruined the carpet therein. Last week it was a stopped-up sewer due to roots growing in the lines and now this little winter mishap. All total I've had to shell out over $200. in repair costs. Spring...come SOON!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"National T.V. Segment to Be Shown of This Town"

Back a couple of months ago,Mike Rowe who is the star of the t.v. show, "Dirty Jobs" came to this little town in the middle of "Nowheresville, Kentucky and did a segment for broadcast regarding the cavern ("Hidden River Cave") which runs beneath our limits.

For many years until the latter 1940's, Hidden River was a local tourist attraction and daily tours were given of this cave. In fact, at one time a bandstand was built over the underground river therein and bands with dancing was one of its main attractions. Unfortunately, the sewer system here polluted the cave so much that it was finally closed to the public until just within the last few years when geologists recovered and cleaned-up Hidden River to a point that tours could begin anew (although not nearly as much of the cave is presently shown to the public).

This was such an achievement that the National Cave Karst Museum was built here, and is now one of the attractions this little burg can boost about (although not a whole lot else!) Anyway, for those that might like to watch this you would want to earmark this episode of "Dirty Jobs" which is scheduled to air this coming Tueday evening (January 22nd.) at 7 PM CST/ 8 PM EST on The Discovery Channel.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"The Weekend of: Jan. 12-13th."

This has been a pretty busy weekend for me. It began Saturday morning when a friend of mine, who is a plumber, came by to help me fix some drainage problems I had in the bathroom.

Here within the past couple of weeks, water had been backing up and leaking out under the sink in there everytime I let the water out of the tub. Obviously we had a blockage somewhere within the sewer pipes, and my attempts of using a "snake" down the drain, or pouring Liquid Plumber down such had failed. It was time to call in some professional help.

He called around 11AM and asked me to meet him at his house as the routing machine was too heavy for him to lift alone into the back of his truck (around 200 lbs.), which I did and we came back here and moved items out of the bathroom to make room to bring in the machine. Then we removed the commode and noticed that it had no flange at all, plus the old wax seal was in rotten shape. He started running water and after a while we saw that it was also backing up in the commode line. Obviously the line wasn't totally blocked, but enough that when a fair amount of water entered it the pressure would push the extra liquid back which couldn't drain fast enough.

We plugged up the routing machine and started feeding line through the pipes, at least 60 foot of it, until it finally hit the blockage. After we were successful in unblocking the pipes we started removing the routing line. And, what was blocking it? What I feared the most: roots from the trees in the front yard. He suggested I start pouring "Rootkill" down the commode everyweek for this problem, and also we found, outside of the hourse, the old clean-out valve which he suggested that I dig up so next time we could put a new plug and it, and if the sewer started to block up again, we could rout it out from that location rather than going through all of the hassle of removing the commode again.

He also noticed that there was no seal under my sink in the bathroom, and will be putting the proper fixtures in that. He put in a new flange and two wax seals and reinstalled the commode and with this job completed we reloaded the machine and went back to his place and unloaded it. Then I came back and worked a good half an hour cleaning up the mess it made as well as putting all of the items back into the bathroom.

Now, the night before this (Friday), I had put together a large television table for my mom, all save for its glass top. I probably mentioned this before, but her old t.v. had been going out and a friend had just bought himself a new plasma one for the wall, so he just gave mom a practically brand new 32" set. The table she had it sitting on was really too small for this t.v., and since she figured she saved herself at least $200. on a new set, she spent around $150. on a proper table for the large new t.v. over at Wallyworld. Naturally, it was sold unassembled, but since I've had years of assembling furniture samples at my place of employment, I knew it'd be no trouble putting this together. In fact, it took me less than an hour to assemble said table, which was light-weight enough for me to carry, all except the heavy and thick glass top. So I put it altogether save for that, and Saturday afternoon I carried it down the street to her house, then came back home and loaded the glass into the van and took that down as well, and had the rest of it together in 15 or 20 minutes.

Then came the "hard' part, which was to remove the t.v. set from the smaller table, get the new table against the wall and put the set on it. I finally had to call a neighbor to help me to do this and within 10 minutes or so the task was finally completed. She had her little table back as a coffee table as was her original intention, and I had all of the cables reattached to the set and operable.

While I was there I started the pick up truck and let it run a while and put the riding lawn mower into the shed and locked that up for the Winter (rather than covering it up with a tarp as my dad used to do every year). I still need to Winterize the mower soon with some additive to its gas tank.

My wife had walked down to mom's house as well and we started to leave when mom asked us if we'd like to go out to eat as "payment" for all the work I'd done. Since neither of us had eaten dinner we agreed, but just as we started to leave the neighbor who had helped me with the t.v. set came back and motioned us back into the house. One of the other neighbor's large pittbulls had gotten loose from its pen and was running around terrorizing the neighborhood! In fact, it had almost gotten that neioghbor that helped me as he had to climb up on top of his car to escape the dog. When the dog ran off, he quickly ran over to our place and warned us, called his wife and told her to stay in doors as well as another neighbor close by.

From our back door we could see the dog running across our back yard and hear frantic screams over on the other block, so I finally called 911 and got the police to come. Finally, the owner of the dog got it captured and under controll, but I can see a local ordanance in the making to eliminate such dogs from a residential area. And really, they have no place in this neighborhood at all for them which is filled mainly with the elderly and retired. It'd be difficult enough for a younger and stronger person to defend themselves from such an animal, let alone an elderly one.

With all of this finally over (and my wife calmed down), we went to eat and got back home and I made sure mom got in okay in her house and my wife and I came home and called it a day around 6:30 PM.

One thing I was able to do yesterday before all the work was watch both The Legion of Super-Heroes as well as The Batman animated shows. Both were probably re-runs, as I know I'd seen the LOSHs one where they go to Superman's "Fortress of Solitude" and he ends up in the bottled city of Kandor and at the end finally restores same, but I hadn't seen The Batman one, which was pretty decent. It was part two of a 2-Parter where he and Superman teamup against Lex Luthor. At the end of this, Bats takes Supes to the JLA satellite HQ and asks to to join the team. It's interesting how they've progressed with this series, as first they intro Bats, then later on, the JLA (and he joins The League), and now Superman joining, which ties in the whole thing finally to the defunct "JLA Unlimited" animated series, making this version of the animated The Batman series a prequel to JLAUL. I must admit that I'm very impressed with this whole idea!

And today around 9AM I went back to mom's to make sure eveything was still alright and quiet and after she left I went back through all of those comics I have stored there which I had recently weeded from my collections. This time it was to obtain bags and backing boards, of which I was able to get around 200 of each (a good $20. worth of saving me from buying them again). I figured if I'm letting thse all go as a "lot", and cheaply, I might as well save as many comic supplies as I could. This helped compact the boxes with their adsence (in fact, I got them all into one less box) and used the exra box to store the bag/boards. I also pulled about 35 misc. comics from it again just to keep that I had forgotten I had originally bought for their good artwork and the like. This was the last time to go through those and they're ready to sell now, and there's still around 2,500 (over 2,200 of which are comic books) items counting the hardcovers, paperbacks and magazines.

And what did I pull from the boxes this time? Things like Comico's Justice Machine written by Len ("Swamp Thing") Wein, a set of the 4 issues limited series Marvel Comics' The Punisher P.O.V. written by Jim ("Warlock", "Dreadstar") Starlin and illustrated by Berni ("Swamp Thing", "The Weird", "Frankenstein") Wrightson, Plaston Cafe (published by Mirage Publications) 1-3 with Rick Veitch work, three or 4 comics with Jae Lee artwork, plus just some misc. stuff I wanted to keep for a while to maybe auction off seperately later on eBay.

Speaking of which, I sold one item on my eBay listings this time but the others (at the moment) haven't gotten a bid with less than a day till the auction's end. I'm hoping I'll have some last minute buyers (as is usually the case).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Goodbye Web-head"

I've had readers ask me why I'm not much of a Marvel Comics fan these days. Well...Here is yet another reason.

Really this comes as no big surprize. Marvel has been trying to destroy Spider-man's continuity for quite some time. The Ultimate Spider-man series is a prime example. Now they will be getting all of their Spidey titles in tune with one another. They think this will help the character and avoid confussion among their readers. They don't care, actually, about anyone that's been a long-time reader and follower of this character's adventures.

My own disenchantment with Spider-man goes even further back to the 1980's when the "black costume" was introduced. To me, this was a somewhat noval idea which should have lasted about 5 months and been over. When they reverted back to his original dark and red togs, I was pleased.

Then the whole clone storyline began which lasted a few years and by that time they had lost me (as well as many other older fans) entirely. The movies I didn't mind. To me, film versions of super heroes are totally apart from any continuity of the comic book versions. Superman, Batman, The Hulk, Spider-man, The X-Men, all are different from the current running stories in their comic titles due to the wide audience they encounter, many of which have never read any of their titles and would be totally clueless without these films building in sequence an understandable outline for them to follow.

But you don't mess with their main titles.

Renumbering with new volumes and new origins destroyed all of what I considered Marvel's continuity. They did it with the Fantastic Four, Spider-man, The Hulk, Daredevil, Captain America, The Avengers, Thor, etc., which marked the end of my buying Marvel titles in any large numbers, even if later on, they reincorporated many of those numbering sequences back into the run of the original titles.

DC Comics aren't so bad with this, even though they did jumpstart Superman back to a #1 some years ago and have only recently reincorported the numbering back to its original title. At least they left the premise of the character intact.

It's no small reason "why" Steve Ditko wouldn't talk about Spider-man after he left Marvel. Not just because he's a very private person, but who would want to after the way other writers have destroyed any resemblence to the early issues? And one may argue that the original tales of the character are very dated (which they are), but that just adds to a "old timer" like myself that grew up reading a character with some sort of "building history" a fonder memory of how great an idea this once was, and now shows "How the mighty have fallen."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"SELLER Beware!"

Well I almost "did it" today with an email I received. It was from someone asking a question regarding one of my auctions. Yes, I almost replied to this inquiry until I noticed that eBay didn't use my real name; just my user name. Had I replied I would have had to sign in to do so, and this person who sent me the inquiry would have had my password. (And eBay ALWAYS uses your REAL name; NOT just your user name.)

So after it looked suspicious I went to "My eBay" page and, sure enuff, there wasn't any messages for me. Then I went back to my email and forewarded this to and, sure a tootin', it was phoney. They're getting pretty slick about such things as this. In fact, theives are getting smarter about stuff all the time. I have always highly suggested that if you get ANY odd-looking requests, emails, etc. that "appear" to come from either eBay or Paypal, be sure to first forewarded them to the "spoof" address. Especially with PP as a thief can have access to all of the funds in your account there, and even, all of the funds in your bank account!

One such thing you need to look out for that crooks are pulling these days involves the pin number of your vehicle. The pin is located on a small metal strip, usually located on the driver's side front window, and it's the identification number of your car, truck, etc. Car thieves are going around copying this number, then going to a car dealership and getting a key made. If you don't believe they can do this without further I.D., just try it yourself. The dealership will make a key usually with no questions asked, and then all the thief has to do is go back to the vehicle and stick said key in the door and drive it away without ever damaging it at all. And right down to the "chop-shop" they go and you're left a'hoofin' it.

How can you protect yourself from this? Simplicity in itself. It's against the law for one to remove the vin number, but there is NO law against covering it up! Just take you a piece of black tape and stick over the plate, or stick a 3"x5" card over it where no one can read it. Such a simple act may save you a lotta time, money and headache!

Thieves come in all shapes and forms. 30 years ago when I lived in Bowling Green, Ky., there was a group of very attractive young ladies that were going around to various businesses supposingly selling magazine subscriptions. They'd try to find a place that was run usually by just one person, and usually a male, and then come in and give then this hard-luck tale about how they needed just one more subscription to be sold so that they could make their quota and that the money they were making was for their college education, blah-blah-woof-woof,etc. And of course what they were doing was filling out forms and then just sticking the cash (which they said they had to be paid by) in their pockets. In fact, they tried that on me and failed. I told them i didn't carry any cash; just a check book, and that I needed some I.D. that showed they worked for that company. They removed themselves from the store where I was working quickly. People try just all sorts of scams.

Had this woman pull up in my own driveway once telling me that her son was in a bad wreck and she needed money to buy gasoline to get to the hospital. She was driving a new car, but didn't have gas money? Yeah. I don't think I buy that story. A couple of months later, the very same woman tried to approach me again while I was coming out of a local gas/grocery stop and with the VERY SAME story! I stopped her in mid-sentence, told her she outta get a better memory since she'd tried this on me before, and called the police on her. She burned rubber out of there like she was driving in The Brickyard!

Not that I haven't gotten burned. The only time I ever took a counterfiet bill, to my knowledge, was once when someone handed me a C-Note to pay for gas (at some odd place I worked years ago) and as usual, I marked it with the counterfiet-detecting pen. If a bill's fake, the mark will turn as dark as a black ink marker. Otherwise the mark will remain a light brown. The bill marked tan and I handed back change, but then, after a minute or so, it turned black. We caled the cops and the F.B.I. even questioned me about these crooks (which they did later catch when they tried this elsewhere). The agent told me the reason "why" it didn't turn dark immediately? They'd sprayed the copy with hairspray which coated the paper so the marker couldn't seep in!

At this same store someone got a co-worker on a fake $100. Traveler's Check (VISA). It was a photocopy, and the more she looked at it, the more she thought it didn't look right. Sure enuff (again), it was a fake. The way we could tell was that the registry wasn't correct and the dark navy blue on the check was black. Yes, they'll try anything. And yes they also got caught at another gas/grocery place some 45 miles North when they attempted this again. When their car was searched, there was literally thousands of dollars' worth of fake checks in their trunk! (And I'm sure that all of these counterfieters are enjoying they stay in prison since that's a very serious federal crime.)

And the worst part of all of this is that it really makes an employee look bad, no matter how many years they work for a place and never took a bad bill and the like. For those who have never had to suffer such employment they have no idea of what a place like a gas/grocery mart is like to work in, and especially one located at a busy interstate location where you have to deal with literally thousands of customers on a weekly basis. Such as gasoline "drive-offs" which is as much thief as coming into the store and sticking a loaded revolver in your face and emptying the cash drawers. Or "fast change artists" that ask for change for a larger bill, then try to confuse the employee by saying something like just give me DIFFERENT bills for that (when they've already gotten their change). Stores try to train their employees for such things, but their training is usually weak and many times, due to the large turnover these stores endure, employees are hired one day and start work right away to fill up the space that's been opened from someone else who quit due to the pressure and small amount of pay. Such places are usually a pretty thankless position to have, but in locations where other jobs are scarce, many a time it's all people can find AS a job.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Potpourri Comments"

My, o' my, but this is such a fine weather day here the first week of January in South-Central, KY., with temperatures in the mid 60's! Sure is a shame that it won't last.

I think the first thing I'd like to do this post is give a belated "welcome back" to Robby Reed" who does his wonderful "Dial B For Blog". Obviously, "Robby" has been back bloggin' for quite some time now and I didn't know it. (Why dunt sumbodi TELL me these things?!)'s great to see him once again doing a new post every week. The current one is on the work of artist extraordinaire, Frank Frazetta, and his previous one was on the 1960's Saturday morning "Beatles' Cartoon Show", so click on that link and read some fun stuff!

Speaking of The Beatles...., once again it's time to thank my good friend Steve Wright for sending me a dozen different Beatles Gum Cards of their various series from the 1960's. That's something else I didn't realise, i.e., just how many series and different cards were produced for "The Fab Four" back then, but according to Steve's info there's six different sets: The Color series (1-64), Series 1 in B&W (1-60), Series 2 in B&W (61-115), Series 3 in B&W (116-165), The "Beatles Diary" set (1-60) and "The Hard Day's Night" set (based on their first feature film; 1-55). That'd be a total of 344 different cards (not counting for that completist, the six different wrappers which would make a total of 350 different items)! I'm a little surprized that there wasn't a "Help!" series as well! HERE is a quick scan of some of them. (And I think that most everyone knows that if these appear too small there's usually a little arrow you can click onto at the bottom right of the photo that'll bring them "up to size". I must apologize for the yellow streaks due to my old scanner or any "grainy" look, but I no longer have my moire removal program).

So, okay, it's time to talk about "why" the Conan cover repro this time. It's known that from time-to-time I "occasionally" purchase an interesting foreign comic book or two. Recently on auctions I discovered this French (French-Canadian, actually) copy of Conan #8 published circa 1973 or so by the Editions Heritage ("EH") Publications out of Montreal, Canada. Loving that Barry (Winsor-) Smith cover artwork I bidded a mere .15 on it and won it (making the postage costs something like 10X the bid)! It arrived and I was looking through it. It's 36 pages in length with a color cover and B&W reprints inside. But...something was confusing....

I had checked that cover out on the GCD site to recall "which" issue that's a reprint of, and it showed that the cover was originally on Conan #22, but upon reading the story (or, at least as much as I could read French), I found it to be the reprint of the first app. of "Red Sonja". I gots to thinkin'..."Now,wait just a darn minute here! She didn't appear until #23!" And, not having an original #22 around these days, I pulled out my copy of The Essential Conan TPB to look that up. I discovered that cover reproduced is a #22 as I thought, but NO story for it! Rather, they had the cover to #23 along side of it (which is indeed Sonja's first appearance). So out comes an Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide which finally gave me the answer. #22 reprinted Conan #1. Finally my old mind full of (mostly useless) trivia started working.

I remembered way back around 1972 when #22 of Conan came out Marvel Comics gave an explanation that they didn't make their deadline and had to reprint an issue. What they did with #23 was get trustly ol' Gil Kane to whip out a NEW cover for that story since they'd already used the Smith version (on #22), which ever added to The Marvel Age of Confussion. So really, MY version of the reprint is the way it was supposed to have been published, with the original cover and all.

So...what else was in the book since it's 36 pages in length and the original Conan was around 24 pages? EH filled up the rest of the book with other reprints, of course, and some fairly decent ones at that: a 5 page 1950's "The Western Kid" with John Rominta artwork, and a 5 page Jack Kirby fantasy story from the early 1960's ("Orrgo...The Invincible!"). Not a bad buy and addition to my collection of foreign comics for less than a quarter!

In other things...

I decided to test the waters on eBay auctions again, here for the first time in well over a year. How frustrating that was! I started to list seven items last night and due to this old pc freezing up and the like it took me an hour and a half just to list ONE item! Aggravated to no ends I stopped and decided to finish those up early this morning and in a couple of hours I at last got them on there. They aren't all like I really wanted them to look, but acceptable. If you are so inclined you may view them HERE, since I removed the link to my auctions from the side list long ago from non-use. (And no, I didn't list any comics this time.) You can view them all week at this link since I put these on for 7 days.

I got to thinking about the various stamps I had lying around here the other day when Steve send me those Beatle cards, as the envelope had a couple of those large "Star Wars" ones on it (a set I didn't purchase). Stamps were one of the first things I ever collected, and I guess that like a lot of people my age, I first ordered them from ads in comic books in the late 1950's. They'd send you quite a few stamps for a dime or some such and then you'd have all of these "other" packages of stamps that you had either the option to purchase or send back to the company. I remember a cousin giving me a stamp album that was practically full of stamps from the early to mid 1900s; many commemoratives as well as commons, plus foreign stamps from around WWII with images of such of Hitler, etc. Never kept that stamp album (or, maybe sold it a very long time ago), but I do have a few stamps around; some of which I've collected just in recent years. Like a sheet of both the Marvel & DC super-heroes, the classic Universal film "monsters", one of "Bugs Bunny", a few foreign and I think one of those three cent "Win the War" eagle stamps from 1944 or so, and some "space" stamps that I've had for years from the 1960's.

Some of the most interesting are 6 NON-cancelled commemoratives stuck on an envelope that somebody used when ordering a small press booklet from me back in the 1980's. they are all circa 1960 and I guess that some postal worker just didn't have the heart to stamp over them (bless 'em!).

Topping off this nice day I went down and mulched up what leaves were still left in mom's yard and serviced the pick up, came home and helped my wife catch up with a little housework and went outside to attach some supports to her various yard decorations to keep the wind from blowing them over. All in all, a fairly productive day off.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"The Cold Months Begin"

And with this, the first post of 2008, we wake up here in South-Central, Kentucky to a temperature of 17 degrees! The high today is only supposed to be 25; well below freezing. (I hate to see my heating bill for this month!) Tomorrow the high is 32 (right "at" freezing), and then finally, a warm up to the 50's and even the 60's by the end of the weekend.

("Puck hate cold.")
Work's pretty slow this time of the year. Honestly there's not a whole lot for me to do there, and only two people are on the schedule each day save the weekend. Usually the mornings are VERY slow and no one wants to get out until around noon (can't blame them; I wouldn't either unless I had to). Don't even have any stock to replenish my shelves much at the moment until the trucks start rolling back in here. Hopefully that'll be in a day or two and I can keep busier.

Trouble is, that when it gets busy, it gets REAL busy for me, not just with restocking shelves but assembling items we've been out of for a while, and it turns into one of those "run all day-type situations". Add that to people hollering at me over the radios to sell a trailer, cut a key, etc., etc....well. You get the picture.

After work last night I came home and put more plastic over one of the living room windows and then hung some new curtains my wife had made that were lined. Got more of those to do today. We definately need a better heating system in this old house and that's one of the first things to look into this year, especially when the tax return comes in and we have the cash to do so. We need to put a new roof on this house as well. Always something when you buy your own place.

And I finally got out in this bitter cold today to do a little shopping and to stop by mom's and warm up the pick up for a while (since I finally got that running again recently by purchasing a new battery for it). While at my mom's, I went thru those 2,200+ comics I'd pulled to sell as a lot as there were a few I decided just to keep for now. The ones I pulled were runs of Cyber Force, Sable and things like a set of the Marvel L.S. Majic 1-4 and four various AC western pubs with photo covers (just 'cause I liked those). I figured I could sell the "Majic" series seperately sometime, and the "Sables" (although not the set by Mike Grell as this is the First Comics series of 1-20) was still a character I always enjoyed reading. The "Cyber Force" issues mostly have Silvestri artwork and they were one of the few titles that company published at that time that I bought with regularity (the other titles being "Savage Dragon" & "Storm Watch"). Their absence from the lot scarcely makes a dent, anyway.(Wednesday: Jan. 2nd., 2008)

Well I survived the bitter cold from the past two days and it's not supposed to be as bad tomorrow. In fact, it's supposed to warm up to the 50's today! Joy! Joy!

Rough day at work. Got off early but that just meant having to run around quicker than usual to try to get everything done, and tomorrow won't be much better.(Thursday: Jan. 3rd., 2008)