Gorilla My Dreams

Today:
My computer (Windows Media Player) is playing the songs on the CDs I pop in in random order; it never did THAT before. My PDF isn’t working. My e-mail hangs up when I send. Web pages load slowly.

I blame it all on:

I tried to get someone to wear his gorilla mask, his Halloween perennial, but he declined. All I can do is laugh…

My friends, the authors


I’ve been blessed to know some fairly erudite people. In the last few months, some of them have been published:

My friend Sarah McCue wrote Farce to Force : Building Profitable E-Commerce Strategies.This is at least her fourth book.

Dr. Sarah McCue is manager of the Information and Communications Technology for Development practice at the United Nations Development Program in New York. She also wrote The Federal Role of National Export Development Organizations and drafted the E-Commerce Strategy for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

I first met her when she worked for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, but she is not nearly as stuffy as all of those titles might suggest.

My former library colleague at the NYS SBDC, Jennifer Boettcher, also a prolific author, wrote a book with Lenny Gaines, who I also know pretty well. It is entitled Industry Research Using the Economic Census : How to Find It, How to Use It (How to Find It, How to Use It). I happen to be a geek for these types of data.

Finally, the NYS SBDC has published an award-winning book called “What’s Your Signage.” It was written largely by my current library colleague, Darrin Conroy. The book acts as an introduction for small business owners to the importance that signage can have on their business. Since 1 in 7 Americans move each year, good signage can make a real difference. I started attending a new church six years ago, and I had no idea where the “Rose Room” was, but subsequently, there was great signage provided throughout the building, which made me feel much more welcome.

Don’t know if most of you will find these of interest, but I am proud of each of the authors.

Guru Is His Middle Name

The first time I met Fred Hembeck in person I was disappointed: no squiggles on his knees.
The first time I met Free Hembeck in person, I was relieved: his head doesn’t REALLY look like pair of butt cheeks.
Oh, but I kid.

Actually, the first time I met “Fred Hembeck”, the guy pictured above, was in the pages of the old Comics Buyers’ Guide, where Fred and “Fred” had a regular column.

In 1979, I was in New York City, at a comic book store at the West 4th Street subway stop (Greenwich Village) when I saw a blue-covered book with familiar artwork. It was Best of Dateline @#$%! , published by Eclipse, and while I was by then frequenting a comic store I would later work at, FantaCo, I had never seen the book there. So I bought it.

The first time I met the REAL Fred Hembeck was in February of 1980, when he was doing a signing of his second collection, Hembeck 1980. This was at FantaCo, who published it. I don’t particularly remember it, but in my journal, I eferred to him as Mr. Hembeck.

MR. HEMBECK?

Even then, he was just Fred. I saw him often for a while, when he came into the store. We saw each other outside the store, too. He wrote to me last year:
“Remember that time you took us to your friend’s party in that trailer park, and the redneckish neighbors shot off rifles at midnight, and then stopped by the party? Whoa! SOME fun! NOW, that’s a memory – the Deliverence-styled moment faced by us erstwhilke hippies!”

But he and Lynn moved away, I left FantaCo and eventually got out of comic collecting, and we lost touch. These things happen.

Then, in October 2004, I run into a mutual friend, Rocco Nigro, who said, “You know Fred has a website?” Why no, I didn’t, and I went to it and liked it a lot. I e-mailed Fred and told him so. We’ve been regular correspondents ever since, exchanging mixed CDs, even Andy Williams, and opinions of the world.

Subsequently, I read pretty much everything on the site, even the posts from the previous year and three-quarters. I even found myself mentioned in one or two of his columns: (see May 14, e.g.)

I started “helping” my old buddy, trying to explain the difference between it’s and its, and pointing out some broken links.

Eventually, I even started appearing in his column (January 17, 18, 23, March 28, 29, 31 and April 2, 2005). I think it was after the last two pieces (Herb Alpert and link to spoof LP covers that I thought about actually doing something like this myself. And a month to the day later, May 2, I did.

Of course, I kept harassing Fred about this and that.

Then last summer, we actually met in person for the first time in a LONG time – you can read about this, Rashomon-style, here at August 9 and 17 and here. It was great!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRED! Glad we’re back in each other’s lives, and we’ve been able to renew our friendship.

But always remember, and never forget, I’m younger than you are for the next five weeks.

(Oh, yeah, his real middle name is George, but when I send him stuff, I always change it something else starting with a G, just because.)

Sunday Funnies: The Black Comic Book, Pt. 3

More on The Colored Negro Black Comic Book by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon.

Note: in the comic strip tradition all the words in the strip are in capitals, but for readability, I’ve deigned to write in standard English. Also the words that are in bold in the strip are in red in this text.

“Tarskin”, a 4-page response to “Tarzan”

Page 1- Tarskin saves guy with diamond from a roaarr!ing lion

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1:
Diamond guy: Amazing! That this great black man should help and befriend a white man!
Tarskin: ?
Page 3, Panel 2:
Tarskin: You- mean – you not black?
Diamond guy: Of course not! Don’t tell me you took my sunburn-…

Page 4:
Diamond guy’s hat on ground in foreground, lion chewing on a bone, going mmrraaarrmm– and Tarskin walking away with the diamond, passing a Pogo-like character.
The chimpanzee Cheetah (looks at lion) Ooh.
Daddy Warbucks (?!) (peeks from around tree): Ooh.

While I do appreciate the fact that the man was trying to rip off our hero, I don’t know how allowing the man to be fed to the animals was supposed to promote racial understanding. Even if he IS “The Man”.

***

“Laughin’ Black” a 4-page parody of “Smilin’ Jack”, a strip that ran from 1933 to 1973, and which ran in my local papers when I was growing up, as did most of the strips represented.

Page 1: (Three airmen in background, head officer shaking Laughin’ Black’s hand)
Officer: Welcome to our squadron, Laughin’ Black!
Laughin’: Thank you, sir!

Page 2:

Page 3, Panel 1:
Officer (next to Laughin’): We all fight for the same country, wear the same uniforms, and each of us has his very own plane
Page 3, Panel 2: Other pilots running to their planes)
Loudspeaker: Pilots! Man your planes!

Panel 4:
While jets are in the air, Laughin’ is shocked when he comes to his plane (Sign: L. Black), which is a rickety old biplane.
Laughin’: !

In the panel shown, the officer practically says the old cliche, “A credit to his race.” This story did portray some truths about separate but unequal treatment.

I’m reminded how the valor of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II helped finally integrate the armed services.

***

“Little Ofay Nannie”, a 4-page take on “Little Orphan Annie
The convention in this strip is to underline certain words, rather than making them bold. Since I’m loath to underline – it means hyperlink to me – I will italicize the underlined text.

Page 1:
Nannie (smiling): Oh, Dandy – isn’t it fantabulous that Daddy is coming home for my 65th birthday party?
Dandy (smiling): Arf

Page 2, Panel 1:
Nannie: He’s been on a business trip to wonderful places like South VietNam, the Union of South Africa and Rhodesia!
Dandy: Arf
Page 2, Panel 2:
Nannie (in a classic arm-up “Annie” pose”): It’ll be such fun to see him again!
Dandy: Arf

Page 3

Page 4:
Nannie (angry, pointing finger at Daddy): Turn blue, you @*O!![dagger]@ honky!!!
Dandy (growling at Daddy): Grr!
Daddy (shocked): !

While her anger was, and is, understandable, this rant left me cold, because it seemed to come out of the blue. It’s interesting how the panel before the flaming is the only panel where she does not have those hollow eyes.

I was interested in the citation of South Viet Nam as one of the places Daddy was off exploiting. The African countries’ white-ruled governments were obvious targets. (Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe.) I wonder if South Viet Nam was picked because a disportionate number of black soldiers were kllled in the war? Or maybe it’s that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. suggested, too many people of color, including innocent Vietnamese were dying there.

***
You’ll note that I’ve added Toonopedia links to the mention of the source comic strip. I did it for “Smilin’ Jack” because I figured many of you wouldn’t be familiar with him. But I’ve decided to add the link to all of the reviews, including those previously completed, just in case you didn’t know who Superman or Blondie were.

Two Ramblin' Thoughts

1. The State of the Onion is on Tuesday. It’s pre-empting “Commander in Chief”. I think I’d rathervwatch Geena Davis. I’ll tape the speech, and fast forward through all the times the Congress stands up for the obvious applause lines (about our brave fighting forces, e.g.), and grit my teeth as he once again defends domestic spying.

2. Apparently, Jennifer is over Brad canoodling with Angelina, now that she’s living with Vince. Categorize this under: Things I REALLY Don’t Care About, But Discover Standing At The Checkout Line.

Two Ramblin’ Thoughts

1. The State of the Onion is on Tuesday. It’s pre-empting “Commander in Chief”. I think I’d rathervwatch Geena Davis. I’ll tape the speech, and fast forward through all the times the Congress stands up for the obvious applause lines (about our brave fighting forces, e.g.), and grit my teeth as he once again defends domestic spying.

2. Apparently, Jennifer is over Brad canoodling with Angelina, now that she’s living with Vince. Categorize this under: Things I REALLY Don’t Care About, But Discover Standing At The Checkout Line.

Two Ramblin’ Thoughts

1. The State of the Onion is on Tuesday. It’s pre-empting “Commander in Chief”. I think I’d rathervwatch Geena Davis. I’ll tape the speech, and fast forward through all the times the Congress stands up for the obvious applause lines (about our brave fighting forces, e.g.), and grit my teeth as he once again defends domestic spying.

2. Apparently, Jennifer is over Brad canoodling with Angelina, now that she’s living with Vince. Categorize this under: Things I REALLY Don’t Care About, But Discover Standing At The Checkout Line.

3 Super Bowl Questions


1. Who do want to win? Who do you think will win? Or are you a person who neither knows nor cares?

2a. If you watch: What time do you start watching? All afternoon, or just before game time?
2b. If you don’t watch, do you have an anti-Super Bowl ritual, such as going to the movies?

3. Super Bowl Sunday – secular holiday?
***
Football 101.

Challenger


The thing I remember most about the Challenger disaster is that I’m pretty sure I had NO idea that a shuttle was being launched that particular day. Sure, there was all that “First Teacher in Space” stuff, but the thing had been postponed so many times that I frankly lost interest.

I was working at the comic book store, FantaCo, listening to my favorite radio station of all time, Q-104, when the 10-2 shift DJ, Mary Margaret (Peggy) Apple, who I knew well, stopped playing music to announce the disaster. From the little of the particulars that I remember, my sense is that she handled the story rather professionally, something she was rarely, if ever, called on to do in that job.

Later, when I gothome, I saw the pictures of the 73-second flight over and over ad nauseum uuntil I was practically nauseous. Eventually, I would learned more about O-rings than I ever thought possible.

I also remember where I was when the Columbia tragedy took place, at home getting ready for an annual MidWinter’s party in the MidHudson Valley of New York State. I called my friend Mark, a real space geek and broke the news to either him or his wife Paula; they lived in the MidHudson and were going to be at the party. My first thought when I heard about it – it’s the same weekend as the Challenger 17 weeks earlier! Well, not exactly, but pretty close (1/28/1986, 2/1/2003). That time, I felt even a greater sense of loss, for the Challenger disaster taught me never to take these extraordinary technological events for granted ever again.

Underground Railroad Conference


I’ve know Paul and Mary Liz Stewart for a lot of years. Don’t see them often, especially A.L. (after Lydia), but they are friends. Such good friends that, when they called to invite us to dinner at their house last Friday, we made a bold counterproposal that they come to our house, with them bringing dinner, and they actually accepted. (It’s easier to get Lydia to bed that way.) We had a great time with them and their youngest son Joel – who’s into music from electronic games, an area about which I know NOTHING – talking and playing (non-scoring!) SCRABBLE.

I was one of the first people to go on their Underground Railroad tours of Albany a few years ago. They held an Underground Railroad a conference four years ago for a few hours at the College of St. Rose. Each year, the thing gets ever bigger . This year’s event is “The Underground Railroad: Connecting Pathways To Liberty”.

You can read all about it here.
A Conference On The Underground Railroad Movement In New York State (For more information and to register: www.ugrworkshop.com), (518) 432-4432.

Incidentally, the map is of Historic Sites and Museums of the Underground Railroad in New York State. Go here to find out more about them.