Thursday, April 28, 2011

Killing Field

Here is the Chihuahua standing over the carnage of his favorite toys. He has about 10 of these cat toys scattered around the house. The toy bird chirps when moved so it keeps him occupied from time to time with something to play with.

Since the pooch isn't a chewer we don't worry about him ripping the toys open and swallowing the motion activated chirping device from the inside. He really prefers this toy over all the others.

On occasion he goes on a little Chihuahua rampage and stalks, attacks, "kills" and brings his victims home to the living room. To his little doggy brain these birds are representative of actual captured prey and in his view a really impressive ten minutes work. After his "kills" are gathered up and placed into a grouping he stands protectively over them and howls, proclaiming his victory and alpha-status as a provider for the pack.

It's a lot less amusing and cute at 3 a.m. in the morning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sleestak, thy name is vanity

Thinking about buying a vanity plate for the car even though I'm not a tool bag. 'Slestak' is obvious and I like it, though 'LOSTROR' and 'LSTROAR' has an appeal. The 2nd and 3rd being the last word and action from the Land of the Lost theme where Wesley Eure sings "...Living in the Land of the Lost Lost Lost" and Grumpy the T-Rex attacks the camera and roars. I like the 3rd example better than the 2nd because 'LOSTROR' can read as LOS TERROR and I don't want that.

The third style of plate would be difficult for anyone to figure out but part of the fun of an obscure license plate is explaining to confused people what it means. Good thing I'm already married for life because that much geek displayed in public would ensure I'd never have a relationship with a woman that didn't first require funds being handed over to her.

'HLYRULZ' is the Hayley Mills gag plate I put in photos to conceal real license plates and while I think it would be great to have I don't think my wife would appreciate it. She doesn't get the whole Hayley Mills obsession. Some people are just born broken that way.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Introducing: Hayley Mills

While every day is Hayley Mills Day at the HMCC, a new continuing feature of Lady, That's My Skull is Monday with Hayley, featuring Hayley Mills the star of stage, screens both big and small and the dreams of millions.

And what better way to start this feature by showcasing the screen debut of America's eternal sweetheart from the 1947 film So Well Remembered, the British class warfare story of a progressive newspaper man fighting the uncaring industrial and social system that exploited and ravaged his hometown. Actor John Mills, known for making his movies a family affair, brought along daughters Hayley and Juliet for parts in the film. Hayley Mills receives an uncredited appearance as an orphaned infant, adopted by Trevor Howard who plays the drunken town doctor who may have botched the delivery and caused the death of her mother.

If anyone watching the film is unsure which of the many infants in this classic movie is Hayley all doubt is removed in this scene shared by Trevor Howard and father John Mills. Her striking eyes are unmistakable and in her face you can clearly see the features that would soon light up the screen.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Torn from today's headlines!

Personal Love - Teenager's Rage (Mar-Apr 1959)

I wonder how carefully they vetted that newsprint? I could just see Sally obliviously wearing a jacket displaying the headlines "BRAVE ALABAMANS HALT DE-SEGREGATION", "COMMIES INFILTRATE DAIRY INDUSTRY" or "RELEASED ATOM CLOUD HARMLESS, SAYS OFFICIALS. MAY ACTUALLY CURE ILLNESS"or some other propagandistic horror common to the media. Imagine what a jacket like that would look like today.

From Personal Love #4 (Mar-Apr 1959).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

May Poison Food

Enough customers commented that these decorative "coffee lovers" planters in the form of over-sized cups would be great for soup or drinks that I finally just turned them all over on the display case so the warning on the underside could be seen. I also cautioned that raising herbs for cooking in the planter may result in poisonous herbs.

May Poison Food

This is a warning label that makes sense, unlike those ones that state batteries or soap are not for consumption.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Goodbye, Elisabeth Sladen

The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends. - Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith (April 2006).

The big news in entertainment and SF fandom today is the passing of actress Elisabeth Sladen from cancer. Miss Sladen is probably best known the world over as the long-running companion of the nigh-immortal Time Lord in the Doctor Who television series. As Sarah Jane Smith, Elisabeth Sladen portrayed her character in terms that reflected the emerging Women's Liberation Movement and when the story and producers allowed did more than scream and wait for rescue as was more typical of entertainment of the era.

There are a few reasons that Sarah Jane Smith returned to the series again and again. Her original appearances took place during an era of immense popularity for the show and Elisabeth Sladen as an actress had much to offer. Her story as a companion was perhaps the saddest of the many that crossed paths with The Doctor. Abandoned in the wrong town when the Time Lord was called away on a mission Sarah Jane spent years pining for her previous exciting life, waiting for someone who would possibly never return. Her story continued in the 2006 episode of the revived Doctor Who series where it was revealed that her life had been on hold for over thirty years. She eventually found happiness as her story continued in her own spin-off series.

Since the 5th season of the Sarah Jane Adventures was in the process of being filmed when Sladen passed away the future of the series is in doubt. Undoubtedly the prospect of regeneration is on the table for her character. Anyone associated with the franchises that did not even consider having Sarah Jane regenerate in a similar fashion to The Doctor, allowing a new actress to step into the role should be fired and never be allowed to work in entertainment again. However, my preference would be to let Sarah Jane Smith pass with Elisabeth Sladen. As much as I enjoy any entry to the Who universe being left behind to time is the fate of the companion. The Doctor to his sadness and regret is eternal when his friends are not.

Sarah Jane will probably return eventually, even if it takes another three decades (though the advances in CGI will probably allow her to return, in realistic fashion, much earlier). I doubt that thirty years hence anyone will be excited should Rose return for a Very Special Episode but I would come out from behind the couch to see a Sarah Jane Smith adventure again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday To A Girl Like You

As several people have reminded me today is the birthday of my favorite actress and unrequited chaste crush Hayley Mills. Trust me folks, I don't need reminding. My calendar is marked and the admin assistants at the Hayley Mills Celebratory Complex here in sunny San Diego has been taping photocopies announcing the event to the time clock and coffee machine for the last couple of weeks. So I dragged myself out of bed to post something and hey, the pain of sitting in a chair is worth it for Hayley. I have no regrets.

UPDATE! 2011 has been exciting year so far at the HMCC as we finally received some non-region DVD's of Wild At Heart and a copy of Sky West and Crooked. The Hayley-centric episodes of Wild At Heart have been playing nearly non-stop in the Hayleydome movie theater to standing-room-only crowds.

As a treat a special midnight screening of 1970s Take A Girl Like You was held and fans dressed up as their favorite characters from the movie and acted out scenes a la Rocky Horror. It was great fun though everyone booed Oliver Reed every time he appeared on screen.

take a girl like you

I totally get that. Oliver Reed pawing Hayley? Even though it was just movie magic FX we just had to keep telling ourselves "It's only a movie...It's only a movie..." until it was all over. Fortunately nurses were in attendance to provide aid to those who went into shock when Oliver tried to kiss Hayley WHICH NEVER HAPPENED.

Oliver aside here is the opening title sequence from Take A Girl Like You with Hayley Mills being adorable times infinity.

Be honest, is Hayley great or the greatest ever? That's right, she's both!

The big birthday bash was held in the main dining hall and as usual, a plate was left empty at the head of the table for Hayley in respect just in case she showed up. Not that we expected her to visit this year, we all know how busy she is being adorable (that is a full-time job). It is enough that the HMCC exists and has such enthusiastic international support from all the fans.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

I want to break free

Nifty anti-oppression song from 1984 performed by Queen that did well in Europe but not so much in America. The video featuring the male band members in drag, a frequent comedic trope in the UK, was marginalized or banned from play in the United States. That some members of the band were homosexual was known though not generally acknowledged at the time by the media and many fans. I've seen references likely repeated from the same original unverified source that this video heralded the death of Queen as a music force in America. While the sight of Freddie Mercury in a dress probably made some stupid and prejudiced Americans uncomfortable, even though being gay and donning ladies fashions has little or nothing to do with the other, it was more likely that the style of music Queen produced was becoming unpopular rather than public reaction to band members in costume.

While controversial in 1984 it seems American evolution has progressed to the point where many would find the video whimsical and ironic or just another entry in typical bad 1980s MTV.

A lazy, shwooshy peplum Sunday post.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

43 Cameras

Smile! 43 Cameras

Lot of cameras for a little store. I speculate fear of loss of product, or shrink, through theft is so high due to the low profit margins. A small establishment can not sustain for long the daily losses of $500-$1600 a day due to pilfering the larger chain stores can withstand (Photo taken in San Dieg0, April 2011).

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Improved by graffiti

I'm not the type of person who considers most graffiti as actual art. Banksy and others in that class aside the majority of the scrawls on walls and property is, cleverness notwithstanding, simple and ugly vandalism that is costly and deleterious to the area in which it appears.

The graffiti in my neighborhood, while full of pretty colors and large swooping letters, makes the street look like a slum. I don't get why people poop where they live.

One exception I found recently is a case where vandalism may actually improve a location. While eating lunch on a day out with my wife I discovered a vandalized painting of a still life of flowers hung up above a urinal in a bathroom of a local restaurant. The painting itself is of a class that some consider to be perfectly suited for hotel rooms and other areas like bathrooms. No disrespect to the artist, as it is better than I can do and is an improvement to the standard decor of air fresheners and paper towel dispensers.

Apparently, a few ne'er-do-wells had taken the time to scrawl their monikers on the painting, tagging it with their signatures. Shame. Vandalizing art is tantamount to burning books as far as I'm concerned.

Yet the vandalism is not the most unfortunate aspect of the painting. During flushing, fluids in a toilet become aerosolized and spread out about a yard or so in all directions. Due to the proximity of the painting to the urinal it is probable the art is toxic to more than the eye. The painting is a still life but I don't doubt that the surface is teeming with squirming, throbbing, icky, deposited nastiness. Worse, any person of average height using the urinal is positioned directly in front of the canvas, mouth a few inches away from the surface (on average, about six inches distant), breathing in and out, blowing colonies of bacteria and horror into the air and then inhaling them deep into the lungs and sinuses. So the good thing about the vandalism that mars the painting, the only reason when graffiti would improve something by damaging it, is that for esthetic reasons the painting is unlikely to be moved during redecorating to anywhere else in the restaurant. Like to the dining area.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Outstanding in his field

I'm really enjoying the new Avengers series primarily for the JRJR art though I'm not hating the story direction either.

In particular I appreciate this scene from Avengers #6 (Dec 2010) of Ultron standing at the crest of a pile of debris.

This panel conveys a real sense of horror and menace from the human-hating robot Ultron. In the past Ultron or any other villain, when shown as victorious, would usually be depicted standing in a vast control room or city that is an extension of itself. While visually appealing it also became somewhat of a cliche and usually the cause of the antagonist's defeat. A super-intelligent robot wouldn't really need to sit on a throne or connect to the internet though it looks good in CGI cartoons.

In the comic Ultron was placed in a scene where the robot's essential binary nature was revealed. Ultron is either ON or OFF, at ZERO or ONE. Having completed the directive to erase humanity from the planet Ultron stops in mid-step, inert until it is prompted to proceed again. Like an anti-life Roomba, Ultron apparently just walking the earth until the program was fulfilled, having extinguished all life. That's scary.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Essential Mysta

Here is a gathering of all the pertinent links for the Planet Comics serial Mysta of the Moon posted on Lady, That's My Skull.

The links are sorted per issue though sharp-eyed readers may notice the chapter headings do not match the links. This is due to my not noticing a few posts were deleted by the service before I entered new ones. So to avoid confusion just go by the post titles.

Mysta of the Moon is a science fiction adventure serial that ran in Planet Comics from 1945 to 1952. Mysta is one of the most consistent serials in regards to art and story quality to have been published by Fiction House. Mysta originally appeared as a young woman in issue #35 of Planet Comics (March 1945) as a victim of the machinations of Mars, the God of War. Mysta, as the repository of the sum of all knowledge, takes it upon herself to fight Mars and assist humanity out of the ruins of civilization.
Mars was the featured character of an earlier and respected Planet Comics serial. In those stories, the evil Mars would travel the galaxy and possess different people, forcing them to commit horrific acts and spread terror and strife all in the name of conflict. What made this serial different is that often Mars would emerge victorious being defeated only after spreading widespread chaos.

In Planet Comics #35 Mars is waging a war against science and intellectualism when he crosses paths with Mysta and her brother. While this story details Mars' greatest success, effectively destroying human civilization, it also marks the marginalization of the Mars character as the far more visually appealing Mysta is brought to the forefront as the protector and savior of humanity. By the following issue Mysta headlined her own series and Mars was delegated to only a final cameo.

Out of all the female characters featured in Planet Comics it is Mysta of the Moon that was the strongest in terms of woman's empowerment and characterization equal perhaps only to Futura, also a Planet Comics feature. Unlike many other contemporary characters Mysta largely stood on her own in her adventures. It was typical of almost any comic book tale of the era even where a female would be the lead in a story it was not unusual to have a man show up near the end of the tale and take charge, wrapping things up as the woman character shed angst-filled thought balloons expressing gratitude and unrequited love. Among the Planet Comics entries this was most common among the Gale Allen serial. Mysta, being the most intelligent person in the Universe, would have none of that even though the creative team in the beginning used the "Diana Prince" trope and there is a greater than average amount of gratuitous cheesecake in the stories. Anyone interested in researching a good example of early female empowerment in comic books could do worse than reading the Mysta of the Moon series.

Like many superheroes Mysta, who was the repository of all knowledge, maintained a secret identity so the public at large would not know she was acting as their savior and defender. In her guise as an older and unappealing librarian or technician, Mysta fought criminals, mutant zombies and solved mysteries with the aid of a lab assistant and an unstoppable robot with which she shared a telepathic link.

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 1

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 2

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 3

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 4

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 5

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 6

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 7

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 8

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 9

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 10

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 11

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 12

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 13

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 14

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 15

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 16

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 17

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 18

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 19

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 20

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 21

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 22LinkMysta of the Moon - Chapter 23

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 24

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 25

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 26

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 27

Mysta of the Moon - Chapter 28

1980s Planet Comics characters revival: The Star Fems

Further reading: Don't forget to miss Michael May's examination of Mysta of the Moon at Michael May's Adventureblog!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Vinylite plastic protects sleeping baby

I don't know what was worse; the parents that would have bought this product or the company that sold it.

From People Today (9-26-51).

But will it play in the Borscht Belt?

Today's musical video comes from an episode of the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold series. The clip has been out there for a while and while I usually watch the show, I passed on that particular episode due to my general dislike of the Matches Malone character. That is a choice I now regret.

From September 2010 here is Catwoman, Huntress and Black Canary singing the Birds of Prey Song. Words by Gail Simone, sounds by Nika Futterman, Tara Strong and Grey DeLisle.

The entire act is pretty naughty for a show that is supposed to be for children and it was reported that the US release was delayed to reanimate some of the more suggestive scenes. I have no idea if this is the reworked version or not. For those of you who don't understand all the innuendo, the Birds are rating the male members of the DCU superhero club by size and stamina.

A lazy, kinda risque Sunday post.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Ow my back

I haven't posted anything since the 16th of March for a reason.

A little over two weeks ago I bent over to pick something up from the floor and when I straightened up my L5 went TWINGE TWINGE TWINGE. I knew right then that I had screwed up. The pain grew more intense as the day went on. Working made it worse since my job entails a lot of crouching, twisting and bending. I made it another three days hobbling about before I accepted that I needed more time to heal that particular wound.

Doing anything not related to laying down on a heating pad was pushed aside. I went to the doctor and they prescribed some pretty fabulous muscle relaxers and pain killers. I used up all my sick days doing little but laying in bed and sleeping. Yesterday was the first day I could walk without wanting to burst into manly tears. Still hurts a bit but I'm able to sit and get around without too much trouble.

Word of advice: Don't ever get old. It sucks.
Related post: How Did I Come To This?