Friday, July 31, 2009

Tales Yet Told

I'll get to them. Not been able to type and think at the same time lately. I'm in my wishing for grave time mood.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Universal Monsters Monday III

I'm beat for some reason, the evening kinda folded into me, or vice versa. Its in the low 80s and its almost 1 AM (don't ever go by my blog and its South Pacific time), and there are times when the humidity makes the rods in my head start sliding in and out of their sockets of their own accord. So its like my brain is telling my right tricep to bebop. It never does that. Ah, well.

Nope. Just like I'm taunting you all everybody with the Sixteenth Street Bridge, I'm doing the same with Bela.Before I get to Dracula, I should point out that I had discovered that I own fifteen or so cards from the 1996 set of Universal Monsters of the Silver Screen. Yea, I know! Crazy stuff indeed! These things are straight-fwd, like collecting baseball cards. Monster's Mate on the front, Info the the film BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN on the back. Henry Hull as the Werewolf of London. The incredible Rondo Hatten with Gale Sondersgaard in THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK, a film where she pretends to be blind to attract young men, she poisons them with a plant in some scheme to drive farmers off her land. Green Acres Noir. There's a scene, the necklace one, from THE CAT CREEPS, the cat in question not being Sammy Davis Jr. THE LEECH WOMAN is by far one of my favorite films of all time, starring Colleen Gray in the title role and Gloria Talbot, my person favorite 50s hottie, as the scheming BFF who causes...well, just Wiki the film. I think the first word that will come to mind is Botox. Way ahead of its time.

THE MAD GHOUL. 1943. George Zucco turns David Bruce into a zombie to scare Evelyn Ankers, the same chick Larry Talbot chased after in THE WOLF MAN. She later married 50s B-movie stud Brian Denning and then he became mayor of Honolulu or something. The two of them had cameos in several episodes of HAWAII 5-0. By the way, Gloria Talbot also starred in I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, but that wasn't made by Universal. You'll have to look that up while you check out the collagen monster of 1957.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fifth Avenue

The most common way for anyone driving straight south from west of Pulaski to get onto I-90 is by doing a diagonal on seedy, beat-up Fifth Avenue, which a century ago was Colorado Street. I talk much of the areas that are being infested by town homes, but everything around here is nothing but squalor. I took these photos at the start of the kayaking trip, the one where I finally took photos (too many!) of the Sixteenth Street Bridge, and I'll get to those tomorrow. These shots of Fifth are from right off Cicero going east. See, I live on Leclaire, the other side of Cicero. For awhile, every major street starts a new letter, up north the city streets go as far as P. But the closer you get to Pulaski proper (where the K's start), its just plain sad.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Tears of My Tracks

Tears as in rips, not the crying kind. I found out I had a way (OK, OK, my 10 yr old niece found this out and showed me) to take a 1.3 MB photo with the webcam. So I thought, hmnnn. Let's see what I can take photos of off of my face and arms. The head one might show an odd scar shaped like England, still there since I broke my arm in 1973, riding a bike in Kentucky. There's one of me pointing/pulling at my hand; back in the winter of 1983, some guy on angel dust pulled a knife on me on the A train (as they were then called), and like a fool, I slapped his hand, somehow smacking the damn knife itself. So much for depth perception. The guy did cut out, though. My first experience with idiots and meltdowns. I knew I was going to love being a writer. The cut was to the bone, I found out later, 26 years later, its hard to see even when I'm tanned. The other shots try to do my left arm justice, what the "good" scar and the "bad" scar loom like. Also, a nice perspective thing to show how might left arm really looks when I'm not bending it into normal fashion when I'm around people. My knuckles really don't hit the ground, no worries.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Taste of Chicago, Joey Waso, And An Indian Chief Punching A Bird

See, I had thought I'd lost the camera. Watching the band, letting it lay on the grass. I found out I have two slots for water bottles on my backpack, and I use neither, being the idiot I am. Well, the one time I DO use it, I find an obstruction, which was, of course, the camera. Every year, I go to the first day of the Taste with Joey Waso, we always head to the original Blackie's first and sit and talk, not so oddly, about the printing business, as this is where I know Joe from, Dipple's PrintShop (as it is known in my fictional Chicago). From there, we just cut around the old Dearborn train station and bam, we're there. It's just a hang out day, my not drinking helped considerably, because a 20 oz. bottle of Pepsi cost $4.00. There's like a billion restaurants offering up food and I went with...Gold Coast Hot Dogs. Can't help it. We saw a band, Joe decided to take a photo of the lead singer and I, seeing as we are at poolar opposites of the hair thing, but he also took a photo of a girl watching the band, because I sure didn't. (These photos are about a month old). I took a few shots of Buckingham Fountain and the general area where the Taste begins, but, honestly? My favorite shote is of the statue of the Indian chief on the horse, trying to punch the seagull.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

House of Monsters

I correct myself, the old gypsy woman died of a stroke, but she had the stroke a few days after starting the fire while smoking. This was 1949, the hotel was in Philadelphia. Linda Darnell died from burns she rec'd while smoking, too. I've never been able to come with a good phrase, like I did with "Shotgunning oneself can be referred to as going out the HemingWay." A few people have mentioned this joint that used to be up on North & Milwaukee. I bought my Universal Monsters tie there. They sold 8mm reels of Japanese monster films. Gone now, sadly. The bottom photo is of the inside of the hand-crank elevator that led to the second floor.

This morning (Tuesday) at around 3 AM, NORAD found it extremely important to send three fighter jets circling past the Sears (that is, the WILLIS Tower), and then landing at Midway, maybe two miles due north of exactly where I am sitting right this second. Bad enough I have to deal with the unmarked helicopters on a daily basis. I had gone to bed at 2 AM, so was pretty much still awake for the airial screeching. This caused me to then have a dream in which I lived in an inverted waffle cone of vanilla ice cream and Frank Gorshin was my neighbor. Yes, I know. I'm still trying to connect the logic dots. Kinda wish the people in charge would have mentioned the jets, I'd have closed the windows and downed some NyQuil. Not that I don't appreciate jets at night, I just don't need to think they were scrambled to chase a UFO and the aliens would hide out in my yard, one of them anal-probing me while the other did wheelies with my Schwinn.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009 wet bread!

Poor man Supergirl or Superwoman or as he wants that he is called to him. There he is, with the red telephone that found in the sweepings of Gorbachov hoping to that his Supermán cousin calls to him, to do to him one sucked. But nothing.

Supergirl is a personage of cómic, premium of Supermán. It has undergone several evolutions and name changes (Kara, Matrix, Pretty…) from its birth, in 1959. Always blond and handsome, with a pretty figure and the shield that his cousin characterizes, with the “S”. But its uniform has been modified throughout the time, from a more or less long red skirt, that sometimes is blue, to mini short. Its blue bodice also has been changing of size… and decollete. Also it has been possible to see to him with one fit white t-shirt. In this page we offer a random selection of than 150 images commented more of Supergirl, Superwoman or comoquiera that are desired to call it. In any case, a fantastic woman, in all its characterizations. Happen and you see. To wet bread!

Disguised Supergirl of wrist of Supergirl

In this image in exclusive right, we can see how the layer of Supergirl the bad one, the one of black, is of worse quality than the one of Supergirl the good one, whose layer is not transparent as much.

I spent my Friday evening clearing out a bunch of bookmarks off the computer, as opposed to actually going out and doing something. But I am done with that one writing gig, I finished writing "The Two Times I Saw Ava," and figured I could get a lot of little stuff done tonight before I set in on some new fiction tomorrow. I saved this goofy site which was actually found on Google Images last winter, there are pages and pages of entries, but I posted the ones that had some odd yet interesting sentence structure. No worse than my own on some days...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More McCallum

And shouldn't there always be more McCallum? Rich The Guy Who Won The Nebula Award commented previously about the OUTER LIMITS episode in which David McCallum was obsessed with clocks. I knew it was either OL or TWILIGHT ZONE. I do agree that his talents were much under-appreciated. Also, to show how far a writer will go to make a few cents, I'm posting the evidence of my writing articles for the David McCallum Observer, which was similar in content to the John Agar Newsletter, and it was a time when I thought getting contributor copies in addition to five or ten dollars was really out of this world. Oh, Robert Mitch Newsletter, where were you then? And why isn't there one even now? Well, thing is, I looked back at the photo of McCallum and the clocks. Maybe you can see where I'm going with this already. Look at the lower right hand side of the photo. See that one clock that reads...11:11? Son of a bitch.

McCallum & Clocks

I would think that I am not alone in wanting this to be a 19 x 25 poster on 10 Pt. Cougar Cover.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Universal Monsters Monday

I gave it some thought and realized that there are blogs that are labelled Friday Night Fights, Haikuesday, and even Half-Naked Thursday, so I can now claim Monday and thus be able to do multiple posts that run through the entire set.

First though, comments. True, Capcom, the IBM asshats belong right up there with AIG and the rest. There are just too many to count. Re: the cemetery, the actual count now is 100,000 graves and a fake shrine to Emmett till; his actual casket had possums living in it. Hemlockman, the article ran on CNN back in May and there are several YouTubes online. Never heard of a NJ guy getting knifed, but I suspect Google might know. Mark Millar writes KICK-ASS, which is a ripoff of his own comic WANTED (changed very much for the film), and the list leads back to AVENGERS stories he wrote in the late 90s. He and Jeph Loeb seem to have three ideas between them and they use them again and again, only for different comic companies. Enjoy the book, certainly, but I'd start reading another Scottish writer, Grant Morrison, if I were you. Millar gets old real fast. Anyhow.

I've kept the cards out and hopefully will describe them accordingly. There are 108 in the complete set, I have maybe 90. I'm skipping Dracula for my favorite monster and the guy I see in the mirror every morning when I say "It's showtime!" The first card is the set-up, though it behooves me why THIS ISLAND EARTH and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN are included. The line-up aside from those two, Wolfman, The Monster, His Mate, Dracula, Invisible Man, The Mummy, and Gill-Man. Art by Hugh Fleming.Each set starts off with the main man, and each set is illustrated by two artists, in this case Mike Mignola, who is well-known for creating HELLBOY, an Mark Chiarello, now Art Director at DC, but, to me, one of the finest artists around. I'm sure you can see the difference. The back of each card gives you a virtual bathtub full of trivia, important facts, and even more art. Look close and see the illustration that shows Bela Lugosi as the Monster, before he was sent off to being a vampire and a morphine addict for the next twenty-five years. (Sometimes, it is hard to believe that FRANKENSTEIN was made almost EIGHTY years ago.) There's Boris Karloff getting his hair done and looking a bit like Ted Danson. There are 26 cards to each monster, and a few of the backs have illustrations by Basil Gogos, the cover artist on FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. So there you go, come back next Monday for Dracula...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Real Life Super-Heroes

What follows will be an article from, I've held on to it for a few weeks now. I also keep meaning to post about my monster cards, so I think for the next few weeks I'll be doing Universal Monster Monday. Should have mentioned that Bayou Bob was wearing my Elvis jumpsuit there, I had brought it to Nashville so that an unnamed writer/lawyer (not Bob) would roleplay with his truly lovely wife during the weekend. He mailed it back, steam-cleaned and all, And I made a few bucks off the deal. Plus I got Bob to wear it to the TOR book party.

I should seriously think of writing more American Dream stories so that they might fit into a collection, even though it seems that all the luck goes to the people who write novels, and rightfully so, I suppose. I could think bigger and write an AD novel. For those not familiar with Evan Shustak, he wears a heating pad for a cape, wrist braces, you name it. And when he screws up, he blames it on his invisible sidekick, Blind Justice. My statements and comments the last few days might make oneb think that today's American Dream would be to see every meltdown go bye-bye, the obscene amount of priests here who have been allowed to walk free after they molest kid after kid, and there should be a Shirley Jackson type Lottery at AIG and the rest of thewir ilk. Sometimesa I think Muhammed Atta and his 9/11 buddies picked the wrong buildings to fly into, no ill intent meant to the plane victims. Enron, Arthur Andersen (which was here in Chicago), guys who
beat women and shake their kids to death, gang members (every single one, you walk with your pants off your ass, you die. Jesus Christ, we have the Polish Popes here, for chrissakes). I do include the cemetery workers as I do anyone who takes advantage of the poor. Bernie Madoff, with his Grandpa Munster hairdo, stole from the rich, but he should go to. The Burr Oaks idiots stole $300,000, so I think that equates well with Madoff and his millionaire buddies. So maybe what I'm getting at is that there should be this big pit, my American Dream nowadays is, you do something heinous, into the pit. AIG wants to pay bonuses again. Let it happen, on the condition that they hang one of the CEOs out the window, or put him in the pit. Let them fight and yell and question their fate and in the end someone could sell tickets as we all watch the living eat the recently dead down at the bottom. And now, the CNN story. Certainly more upbeat than I've been the last few nights.

By Craig Johnson
Special to CNN

(CNN) -- Mr. Ravenblade, Mr. Xtreme, Dark Guardian and hundreds of others. Some with elaborate costumes, others with haphazardly stitched outfits, they are appearing on city streets worldwide watching over the populace like Superman watched over Metropolis and Batman over Gotham City.

Geist patrols the Rochester, Minnesota, area, with a group of like-minded and similarly dressed colleagues.

more photos » As people become disillusioned from financial woes and a downtrodden economy and look to put new purpose in their lives, everyday folks are taking on new personas to perform community service, help the homeless and even fight crime.

"The movement is growing," said Ben Goldman, a real-life superhero historian. Goldman, along with Chaim "Life" Lazaros and David "Civitron" Civitarese, runs the New York-based Web site Superheroes Anonymous as part of an initiative dedicated to organizing and making alliances with superhero groups.

According to Goldman, who goes by the moniker Cameraman because of his prowess in documenting the movement, economic troubles are spawning real life superheroes.

"A lot of them have gone through a sort of existential crisis and have had to discover who they are," Goldman said. People are starting to put value in what they can do rather than what they have, he said. "They realize that money is fleeting, it's in fact imaginary."

Estimates from the few groups that keep tabs put the worldwide total of real-life superheroes between 250 and 300. Goldman said the numbers were around 200 just last summer.

Where to find real-life superheroes
There is a growing diaspora of superheroes worldwide. Here are a few resources.

World Superhero Registry: A virtual who's who of the larger real-life superhero community, including who's active and who's not.

Superheroes Anonymous: A New York-based initiative to organize and document the scattered real-life superhero diaspora. A repository of all things supehero, to encourage and set up real-life superheroes in various communities So, you want to be a real-life superhero? Need a uniform, you say? Mr. Ravenblade, laid off after a stint with a huge computer technology corporation, found inspiration for his new avocation a few years ago from an early morning incident in Walla Walla, Washington.

"I literally stepped into a woman's attempted rape/mugging," Mr. Ravenblade said. While details were lost in the fog of the fight, he remembers this much: "I did what I could," he said, adding that he stopped the crime and broke no laws. "And I realized after doing what I did, that people don't really look after people."

Public response to real-life superheroes has been mixed, according to Mr. Xtreme, who founded the Xtreme Justice League in San Diego, California.

"Sometimes it's been really positive with people saying, 'Woohoo, the superheroes are here,' and then the usual barrage, saying 'Oh, these guys are losers.' Other times people will look kind of freaked out, and then sometimes people just don't know what to think about us."

Like Peter Parker kept his Spider-Man identity from his editor boss, Mr. Extreme and Mr. Ravenblade have asked CNN editors to keep their identities secret.

The current superhero movement started a few years ago on MySpace, as people interested in comics and cool caped crusaders joined forces, Goldman said. It goes beyond the Guardian Angel citizen patrols of the early 1980s, as the real-life superheroes of today apply themselves to a broadly defined ethos of simply doing good works. Watch Crimson Fist help the homeless in Atlanta »

Chris Pollak, 24, of Brooklyn, New York, can attest to the appeal. "A lot more people are either following it or wanting to go out and do it," Pollack, who goes by the name Dark Guardian, said. By "do it," he means patrol the harrowing streets late at night.

"A lot of kids say they're real-life superheroes [on MySpace]," Mr. Ravenblade said. "But what are you doing? Being in front of a computer is not helping anybody."

Comic book legend Stan Lee, the brain behind heroes such as Spider-Man and the X-Men, said in his comic books doing good -- and availing one's self -- was indeed the calling card for superheroes.

"If somebody is committing a crime, if somebody is hurting some innocent person, that's when the superhero has to take over." See a photo gallery of some real-life superheroes »

"I think it's a good thing that people are eager enough to want to help their community. They think to do it is to emulate the superheroes," Lee said. "Now if they had said they had super powers [that would be another thing]."

Without super powers, real life superheroes confess to a mere-mortal workload, including helping the homeless, handing out fliers in high-crime areas and patrolling areas known for drug-dealing.

Mr. Ravenblade said he and some of his superfriends would soon be trying to organize a Walk for Babies fundraiser in Portland, Oregon.

"We work with charities that help children," he said. "We think a lot of crimes happen because of people who didn't get a lot of love when they were younger. We do what we can to help that there."

"Homeless outreach is the main thing I like to do," said Chaim "Life" Lazaros, of Superheroes Anonymous. "We give out food, water, vitamins, toothbrushes. A lot of homeless people in my area know me, and they tell us about what they need. One homeless guy said 'I need a couple pair of clean underwear.'"

For Christmas, Lazaros said his group raised $700 in gifts and brought them to kids at St. Mary's Children's Hospital in New York. "They were so excited to see real-life superheroes," Lazaros said. Searching for Cincinnati's caped crusader

Many of the real-life superheroes even initiate citizen's arrests, but what's legal varies by state. And in North Carolina citizen's arrests are illegal. Real-life superheroes who grab a suspected villain may find themselves under a specter of trouble.

"Not a good idea," said Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina. "Seeing as how there's no citizen's arrest statute [in the state], people who do this are running a serious risk of getting arrested for kidnapping, and being liable for false imprisonment."

"Vigilantism is never a good thing," said Bernard Gonzales, public information officer for the Chula Vista, California, Police Department. He's had some interactions with real-life superheroes. "The very best thing a private citizen can do is be a good witness."

Mr. Ravenblade said he's just that.

"If you're a real-life superhero you follow the law. If you catch somebody you can't just tie them up and leave them for the cops, that's for the comics. You have to wait for the cops and give them a statement," Mr. Ravenblade said. Cincinnati superhero speaks

While citizens helping out in the community is encouraged, Gonzales said the costumes can go.

"Where these people are out in public, and there's children around and everything, and these people are not revealing their identities, it's not a safe thing."

But the costumes go with the gig, right down to the do-it-yourself approach to good deeds, including, apparently, recycling.

"The costume I have is simple," said Mr. Xtreme. "I made it myself. I had a graphic designer design it for me and just took it down to the swap meet and had somebody imprint it on for me."

"The mask," an old bullfighter's piece, "I got from Tijuana."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bayou Bob, The Baton Rogue

Robert Petitt. Bayou Bob. I met Bob through Sid, and the two of us have written stories with a character named Remy Petitt, the Baton Rogue, as he tells the pretty ladies. In fact, "Skull's Rainbow," published in CONSTABLE NEW CRIMES in the UK, was written almost entirely while we were at the World Horror Convention in 1991, and the story is set at the Crown Plaza, where the con took place. Sidebar: the name of the story came from a little Blues joint down a side alley in sight of the Capitol of Tennessee, SKULL RAINBOW. Not long after we wrote the story, the owner was robbed and shotgunned to death, but I did not hear of this until year's later.

1I'm reading James Burke's SWAN PEAK at the moment. Dave Robicheaux has left post-Katrina New Orleans for Missoula, Montana, and he's brought along his old cop buddy Clete Purcel. Clete reminds me very much of Bob, though Purcel is described different, I still see Bob. Clete is also the dark center of my heart, and I think that's why Burke creatwed his character, for people like me. Clete takes revenge when he wants, yet lets some things slide. Bob left Louisiana for East Texas years back, my understanding is that he got involved with a woman and it was made clear that he was no longer wanted in the state. Of course, it could simply be a story, a barroom tale. I met James Burke at a reading at the Tattered Bookcover in Denver, and bought two copies of BLACK CHERRY BLUES, asking him to sign one copy to "Willy Sid, the con artist." Told him it was Sid who hipped me to him during the dot matrix letters days. Few years later, Sid interviewed Burke, his job at the time was entertainment reporter for the Alexandria (LA) Town Talk, and Burke recognized Sid through my storytelling a year before; Burke mentioned me not by name but that I was from Chicago. In my writings, Willy Sid usually hangs with Lisa Sestina.

SWAN PEAK is a huge book, something I needed for today's travels, as I went out to Homewood for Greg Loudon's annual party. I have to go downtown then backtrack on the Electric Line to about 172nd Street. I could take the bus to 87th and Avalon, avoiding going to Block Zero and then passing Block 87, but Avalon Park is no longer a safe place, even during the day. And so it was that I left the house at 1:00 and arrived there at 3:30, adding waiting 40 minutes for the train and a few blocks walk. Played volleyball all afternoon. I totally LOVE volleyball. I adore Greg's wife, Darcie, and his three kids. I bought Ava, the oldest, MAGIC TRIXIE AND HER DRAGON, illustrated by local artist Jill Thompson. I love Greg's folks, Fran and Len, who sounds like Dennis Hopper. Just about everybody there I have known since 1985 or thereabouts.

Walking to get the 8:53 PM train, I had hoped to see the old-timey downtown Homewood at sunset, me a fugitive on the lam with my backpack, but Homewood Days was still going on, so an opportunity was missed. But I did watch the orange sky from the second tier on the train, annoyed that I would again make a U-shaped trek home, instead of an L, all because of jackasses with guns.We passed 87th and I sighed, continuing to read SWAN PEAK. Walking downtown on a Saturday night is always bizarre, there are very few people on certain streets, others are teeming, you just never know. I lucked out that el pulled in as I hopped down the stairs, and it wasn't too long a wait for the bus. I had stopped reading by then, because I had an epiphany re: my novel, the bridge between SHOTS DOWNED, OFFICER FIRED and PROACTIVE CONTRITION. There's no Clete involved, it will be a dame that helps Frank St. Cyr reclaim his career. But how it happens was in front of me all along. I got home around 11:45 PM, a bit longer because of waiting on the bus, I guess. Now I just need to think of the name of the dame. She tends bar at Uptown Jo's, but that's all I got so far. Guess this means to be continued.....

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Sliding Rule of Justice

Can't help you on the first one, it looks cool, but the link simply went to an mp3 site in Spanish. Aside from the usual bullshit about the state budget and gang shootings, even the FBI is involved over at Burr Oaks now. They found Emmett Till's original grave piled in the back, with squirrels living in it. That might have just made a good sound bite, though. My mom asked if the body was attacked, I had to explain that, aside from Till being dead a half-century, these are poor people with the means to buy only the cheapest wooden coffins. This isn't a non-story to me, I think it's shitty that people get fucked over like this, living people who lost money, and it doesn't matter if you think that spending money on a coffin is like buying stock in Enron. A few years back, there was that asshole in Georgia who piled the bodies up that were meant to be cremated. Get a fucking work ethic. Myself, I give a damn about my death. I've told people I want to be stuffed, then auctioned every year, the money going to charity, so a new writer gets me for 365 days and maybe takes me to conventions and book signings.

But I hold as much hatred for those four asshats as I do Anthony Abbate for beating on the Polish bar girl. I do write about these events in some of my stories and somehow some people think that it is worse written down than something that goes away on TV as soon as the next child molesting singer drops dead. It doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks about fucking with dead bodies. Dead is dead. But I don't trust myself with a gun, a bat would be fine. I could thin the herd of the world's population without having to travel too far from my home. Then I'd sneak away to an island off Tahiti and try and forget everything I have seen or read about my entire adult life.