Monday, April 22, 2019

More Adventures in Proofreading

            As a nitpicker from way back, I can’t help but notice typos or misspellings which have slipped past human or computronic watchers.

            The above is from the May 27, 1973 New York Times.  Some might call it Freudian to misspell “movement” as “movemeat.”

            This misspelling is not evident in the original article’s headline.  It’s only “entertianment” online.

           Speaking of lines (on and head), the wizardly Cal Thomas misstepped in October, 2018.  Although boats or other things may be towed with a line (rope), the phrase is figuratively referring to a footrace.  When the contestants are getting ready to run, they line their feet up at the starting line.  Everybody toes the line.

            In the 2014 book Marketing the Moon, we have the deplorable confusion of “pour” and “pore.”  You POUR (decant) a glass of water.  You PORE over (study or intensely scrutinize) something important.

            The last example is a case of “headline blindness.”  It’s not uncommon to notice a howler of a typo or misspelling in a headline.  You wonder, “How in the WORLD did somebody miss that?”  I think there’s some kind of switch in the proofreading mind which isn’t tripped when the font is big enough.

             Yes, in this frame-up of the ne’er-do-well James Ray, James Johnson wasn’t referring to NBA basketball player Nick Collison or to NBA basketball player Darren Collison.  Nope, it’s just a boneheaded misspelling of “collision.”

            As you can see from this screen caption from January 2019, typos never end!

            Feel free to parse the Super Blog for misspellings I may have made, until next Monday, our next installment in April Foolishness – 2019 Edition!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Acrostics, Dune, and Stranger in a Strange Land

            My college years were like most peoples’ in many ways.  I entered brief, intense friendships which now have cooled; I skipped a lot of sleep; I discovered friends who still influence my life today; I met my life’s mate.

            A less-common circumstance involves my roommate, Curt Gebert.  I’ll always be thankful for that farm kid’s accepting frinedship for this long-haired, introverted loudmouth.

             I took this Polaroid snapshot on the afternoon of Sunday, August 24, 1975, in the room I shared with Curt.  Left-to-right are Curt, his wife-to-be Sherri Vasey, and OCU law student Ray McMahon.

            By the Spring semester of 1976, Sherri was falling behind on some schoolwork.  And so it happened that I perpetrated my only act of scholarly fraud:

            I wrote a paper for Sherri, about the concepts of water and religion in Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land.

            These are the paperback editions we read at the time, the mid-1970s.

            And here is the scandalous script.

At least Sherri got Honors Credit for it!

            You may ask, “Why is this worthy of an APRIL FOOLISHNESS mention?”

            Because as a bit of fun, I wrote the thing so that the first letters of each sentence spelled out something wonderful.

           That’s right, just for fun I made the first letters spell M-A-R-K  A-N-D  J-O-Y-C-E.

           And now you know the rest of the story.

            See you next Monday for more April Foolishness!

Monday, April 08, 2019

Welcome to the Complaints Department

            As a prized state employee, I have travelled through many offices.  I rejoice in the personal touches which show evidence of humanity in the system.  Here are a few creative aspects of the age-old problem of employee or customer complaints.

            Here’s a fairly common trick.  You figured out that this label is on a shredder, didn’t you?

            This is a lot more subtle.  This is a three-story building.  NOW you get it!

           This sign appears in the same office.  Kind of reminds me of the bar sign that says “Free Beer Yesterday.”

           This one is my favorite.  In the hallway leading to the Oklahoma Emergency Management offices, there is this handy-dandy building directory.

            By the way, travelling 300 miles in the direction of the arrow would put you on the far side of Amarillo, TX.

            See you next Monday for more April Foolishness!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Welcome to April Foolishness: 2019 Edition! – Mark the Headbanger

            You can’t have a real celebration without having some skin in the game, they say.  In my case, it’s not skin, but blood . . .

            In April of 1971 I was fifteen years old.  I was a member of the UMYF (United Methodist Youth Fellowship), and we had a meeting every Wednesday night which was called Bible Study, but often our talk was general “stuff,” some of which was spiritual.

            As was my wont, I had brung a record from home, to listen on the “big sound” of the console stereo in our church’s Youth Room.  It was Wednesday, April 14.  I brought my copy of Badfinger’s Magic Christian Music.  Before “Bible Study” began, I decided to get a Dr Pepper from the pop machine in the basement.  From the ground-floor entrance, I took a back way, down a narrow flight of stairs.

            At the top of the door frame was a roll-down fire door, similar to the above.  It had a lip so that anybody on either side of the door could pull it down.

           The above picture is the only one I could find online which shows the kind of pull-down lip I’m talking about.  Now, back to 1971 ...

            I was invincible (aren’t all 15-year olds?).  Without thinking, I decided to leap from the top of the steps to the bottom.  This seems doubly silly because at the time I was carrying that Badfinger album.  There was a BANG! and suddenly I was on the floor at the bottom of the steps.  Blood was dripping from my head onto floor, onto me, and onto the record cover.

            I hit my head on the fire door!

            Luckily the Boys bathroom was right where I landed.  I grabbed some paper towels to hold against my head.  I picked up the album, bought my five-cent Dr Pepper, and went back to the Youth Room.  Although several other kids kept telling me to call home for help, I refused until after Bible Study was over.  When Mom picked me up, she drove straight home with me.  She and Dad drove me to the Emergency Room.  We got there at 11PM.  My 2-inch “laceration of the scalp” was stitched up by good ol’ Dr Denyer.

             Recently I came across the emergency-room receipt in a bundle of papers.  That’s how I can pinpoint the date, campers!  If you were here, you could take a finger and feel the permanent ridge in my skull which persists, yea these forty-plus years later.

            Postscript:  I used to have several hundred LPs.  Most are gone.  But this puppy is still a prized possession, bloodstains and all!

            And that, Dear Readers, is why I can legitimately claim to be a headbanger.

            See you next Monday for more April Foolishness!


Friday, March 29, 2019

March Mazeppa Madness Ends ... NOW

Another side of the great G. Ailard S. Artain is exposed in the above Tulsa World article from November 5, 1972.

The owl in the photo may be the one used in the commercial title card captioned, "The Uncanny Film Festival Continues."

And, while I've never met the man, I probably would have been another one of those "smart alecky teenagers who, in an effort to be funny, succeed in just being obnoxious."  Those who know me best will assure you that this characteristic is not native to only teens.

Regarding the film-TV career boom, I must confess that I haven't seen Nashville or Hollywood Knights.  I can tell you that Sartain should have received a Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the Big Bopper in the 1978 The Buddy Holly Story.

And so we reach an end to this year's March Mazeppa Madness.  Rest assured, trembling fans, that there are plenty more Mazeppa scrapings -- I mean, press clippings -- where these came from.  You'll have to wait until 2020 to see more ("see more" -- "20/20" -- get it?).

Come back Monday, April 1st, for the commencement of 2019 April Foolishness!  Until then … happy Lawzees, Turkeys and Turkettes!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

No Longer Lost!

This article is from the October 10, 1992 Tulsa World.

I must say that I am a shameless possessor of all four volumes.  But them now!  You can't go wrong!

You may purchase from  In case you wondered, these "tapes" are now DVDs.

Do it now.  Your children and descendants yet unborn will thank you!

Lawzee, you turkeys!  Come back on Friday for the final round of this year's March Mazeppa Madness!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Markzeppa Must Not Die!

The latest appearance of the dread Markzeppa happened last year, at SoonerCon 27.
Who can say which has faded more -- the costume-wearer or the costume!

You will notice the slight upgrade, the boxing gloves -- a new purchase at an area purveyor of slightly used merchandise.

See you back here on Wednesday for more Mazeppa history!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Mazeppa's Catalog of Delights

When I bought the first of the Lost Tapes of Mazeppa on VHS in 1994, they also included this boffo, socko catalog.

You can do online ordering of the Mazeppa videos here.

See you back here on Monday, campers!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Halloween, 1970: Mazeppa Haunts the Airwaves!

In 1970, Halloween providentially fell on Saturday.  That made marketing meat for Channel 6 in Tulsa.
 Instead of beginning "whenever" the 10:30PM movie ended, ol' Mazeppa had the whole evening to hisself!
As you can see by my markings in the TV Guide, there were PLENTY of scariffic movies to choose from that Saturday night.

And yes, you little turkeys, that is a weird Mazeppa Pumpkinzoidi art in each corner of the half-page Mazeppa ad.  Cleaned up a little for you here:

See you back here on Friday, turkeys and turkettes!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Time Munches On!

Even though there wasn't really anyplace in Bartlesville to use it, I of course made sure to get an Uncola Underground Card, as endorsed by ol' Mazeppa.
It's slightly the worse for wear, although now protected by being wrapped in clear mailing tape.

In other news, I wore my Mazeppa outfit to SoonerCon 9, in November, 1993.

Another attendee was the late, great Mark Barragar.  His big ol' self was decked out as Frankenstein's Monster.

Of course, the fates dictated we be photographed together.  He didn't squeeze my neck too hard … gulp!

Tune back in on Wednesday for our next installment!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Mazeppa Cures Acne!

            Back in Ye Olden Days before VCRs, I was one of zillions of youngsters who did the next best thing to videorecording.  We held the mic of our cassette recorders to the TV and recorded the audio.

            I did this for Mazeppa’s show, a lot.  Too bad I no longer have any of those tapes!  However, I did replay them over and over.

            One of Mazeppa’s typical tricks was commercials for fake products, in the tradition of Bob & Ray’s fake sponsors.

            For one such spoof, the twisted mind of G. Ailard S. Artain conceived a product which years later would take the world by storm ...

He took the concept of the facial mask one step farther and made a “fake” commercial for a new product.

That product was Duct Tape.

Nowadays, this idea is common!

I can remember, verbatim, a few of the lines.  The camera showed Sartain holding tape to his face, which was then viciously yanked away.  Jim Millaway, Sherman Oaks, crowed, “Your friends will think you’ve hit the wah-wah pedal with our new product.”  Meanwhile, Sartain rolled on the floor holding his face, crying, “wah-wah” like a baby.

You know, these products are alive and well today in such products as BiorĂ© blackhead strips.  So, if you dare, use one of these products.  But don’t forget Mazeppa’s slogan for this product:

Just wrap those pimples in tape ... and tear your troubles away!

See you on Monday for more March Mazeppa Madness!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

We're All Proud of Gailard Sartain

From the December 14, 1997 Tulsa World:

No, in no way does Sartain look like a leering dirty old man in the photo.  Uh-uh, nope.  What you can't see in the photo is that, unbeknownst to the photographer, Dixon just pinched our hero's butt.

See you on Friday for a premium reminiscence!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Beginning the Tawdry Tale of Markzeppa

And so it was. in my fourteenth year, I prevailed upon Seamstress Supreme Mary Lou to create a Mazeppa outfit.

She took a sheet and dyed it royal blue.  She sewed brocade in the places I indicated.  She added some snaps to hold the front seam closed.  I, even your humble correspondent hisself, made a cone from posterboard bought from TG&Y.  I rolled that cone and taped it into shape.  Then the Ruler of All Sewing made a sheath from leftover bits of that selfsame dyed sheet, to form the wizard's hat.

Behold the finished product with tears of joy!

You can tell that in the first, indoors picture, my glasses were off and I bore a fake 'stache.  But the outdoor photo give you the beauty of it hot, as Eliot says in The Waste Land.

In coming weeks you will see how well that this stupendous bit of tailory has stood the passage of the years.

Come back Wednesday for more March Mazeppa Madness.  Until then . . . LAWZEE!

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© by Mark Alfred