Monday, April 23, 2018

Uses for CD Spindle Cases

            I buy my blank CD-Rs by the stack.  I really like these:
            But when you’ve used all of the CDs, should you just throw the spindle case away?

            Several people have proposed re-uses for the spindle cases.  You’ve probably seen these.

Some of the ideas, while clever, are a lot of work.   

            Yes, that’s a light inside the case!

            As you can see from this idea, not only do you have to drill holes in your wall, but them spindles is really too flimsy to hang anythin’ from, besides necklaces or the occasional shrunken head.

            There’s always somebody playing with superhero action figures at our place.  Sometimes those guys need a time out, and this is what I devised.

            My most useful improvisation merely requires you to remove the spindle.

           Once you do that, you’ve got a perfect way to keep your paper coffee filters from getting smashed.

            See you next Monday for more APRIL  FOOLISHNESS!


Monday, April 16, 2018

Adventures in Proofreading

As a proofreader, editor, and writer, I am all too familiar with my own mistakes and slipups.  In some strange (possibly vindictive) way, it’s gratifying to come across somebody else’s oopsies.

            In this 1989 article about teaching a “Science Fiction as Literature” course, Dartmouth’s Professor Noel Perrin is embarrassed by a whopper of a headline.

Hint:  Even in sci-fi, that's not how you spell "worlds"! 

            My friend Marc Cushman, author of many books on Baby Boomer media, is particularly burdened by my scrutiny.  Before his stuff gets printed, he lets me rake it over.  And he’s kind enough to let me share a couple of his mis-typings.

            In our recent book about the Irwin Allen series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, we had a reference to the “Berlin Intentional Film Festival.”  Of course, “Intentional” should be “International.”  Elsewhere, a studio staffer was described as having an “all encumbering role,” when “all-encompassing” was meant.

            And we mustn’t forget the time when one of Sid Caesar’s costars on Your Show of Shows was named “Imagine” Coca.  That’s Imogene Coca, of course.

            Closer to home, here’s an example from a calendar produced by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, aka ODOT.

            Read the month’s name again.  Hee-hee!

            It turns out that even the Great and Powerful Stephen King isn’t above a little slip now and then.  I came across a silly little thing when reading Nightmares and Damnations.  It’s in the story “Sneakers,” set in a building which has a recording studio as a tenant.  This is pages 266-67 of the Signet paperback (mine’s the first printing of this mass-market paperback).

           See the reference to Krrang?

            The thing is, this is a real magazine.  It’s about pop music.  But, it’s spelled Kerrang!

            This misspelling isn’t just in the paperback.  In an online PDF which I quickly glanced at, it’s the same:

           So, my question is ... Did Mr King get the name wrong on purpose, as a joke?  Or, was the name messed up somewhere along the line from his fingers to publication?  Perhaps a proofreader or fact-checker noted the mistake—but was afraid to correct The Master?

            Only the capricious gods of proofing know, and they ain’t takling  talking!

See you next Monday for more silliness.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Stylin’ on the Southside

            In January of 2017, I was tooling along through my side of OKC ... the much-maligned SOUTH SIDE.

            Here I was, drivin’ along on a Thursday afternoon, when I pulled up at the light at SW 44th and Pennsylvania.

            I casually roamed my eyes and saw a puzzling sight:

            What were those people doing over there next to the pawn shop?

            When I deciphered the image, I grabbed my old (and I mean old) phone, and was able to get the photo you see above.

            What were these folks doing? you may ask.

             Why, the person on the right was wielding electric hair clippers.  While the person on the left supervised, the person in the center was getting their head shaved.

            As the guy sings in “Stairway to Heaven,” “And it makes me wonder ...”

            Now you can wonder, too!

           Of course, ours is the same municipality which is content to leave a fire hydrant lying in the grass for months at a time, at SW 58th and Western ...

            I’m kind of surprised that somebody hasn’t tried to steal it and sell it as scrap metal.

            See you next Monday for more APRIL  FOOLISHNESS!


Monday, April 02, 2018

A Vitruvian Supergirl

            Once, when surveying the glorious cover of Action Comics #373, cover-dated March, 1969, I made a mental connection between Curt Swan’s rendition of a joyous Supergirl (inked by Neal Adams) with da Vinci’s famed Vitruvian Man.

            I’m not the only person to combine the concept with superheroes:

            ... or fan art:

... So, I decided to attempt a Vitruvian Supergirl, based on the Action 373 cover art.

            For the arms and legs, I used:

            Of course, the penciler in each case was the incomparable Curt Swan.

            Putting them together with the original, I came up with this version of the Girl of Steel:

            Now you know what people who can’t draw, do with our time ...

            See you next Monday for more APRIL  FOOLISHNESS!

Monday, March 26, 2018

WATCHPANELS, Part the Fourth


One compulsive reader’s observations ...
after gazing into Watchmen for the umpteenth time



All right, I’ve got photons in my teeth and my wrist brace on ...

      This is a brief one, folks!

            For a change, in Chapter 4, the “chapter title” bar is the same as in bound editions.

           On page 3 we’re treated to an Osterman flashback to the August 7, 1945 New York Times.  Just for fun, I looked up the actual front page.

            As you might have imagined, in the real world of 1945 there wasn’t any way to get a “photograph” of a mushroom cloud into the papers so quickly.

            The black bar containing the epigraph is the same in comic as in bound editions, except: 

·         There are quotation marks in the comic.

·         In the comic, the clock-face image is black-and-white REVERSED – in the comic, the clock outline and hands are white, the clock face is black.

            Thanks for joining me in this nitpickery.  Eight chapters to go!

Be with us beginning next Monday and all throughout April, for ...

April Foolishness, the 2018 Edition!

Monday, March 19, 2018

WATCHPANELS, Part the Third


One compulsive reader’s observations ...

after gazing into Watchmen for the umpteenth time


All right, I’ve got photons in my teeth and my wrist brace on ...

            In panel 1, we encounter the first excerpt from the Tales of the Black Freighter comic book.  Being someone who is sometimes analytical and often obsessed with the WRONG minutiae, I wondered, “Where is Davidstown,” the home that the “Marooned” sailor is so desperate to save from the supernatural evil of the pirates?  Here’s our first clue, “the yellow Indies sky.”  So, which Indies, the West (centered on the Caribbean), or the East Indies, the seas around South and Southeast Asia?

            And, by the way ... Where is Davidstown?

            Our information points are

·         The just-noted “Indies sky.”

·         the sailor sails his ghastly raft “east, borne on the backs of murdered men” (5:9:4).

·         When he arrives home, a few miles from Davidstown, the sun is setting behind him (10:12:1).  This means he arrived from the west.

·         He views the moneylender and his doxy “through a curtain of whispering maram grass” (10:12:3).  According to Wikipedia, “marram grass” (the common spelling) is found in the US, the UK, and Australia. 

            Putting these clues together ...

            My guess is that Davidstown is located on the western edge of Australia.  The western half of the continent was designated the “Swan River Colony” in 1829.  If this is correct, then the atrocities of The Black Freighter represented the last gasp of the Pirate Rounders, who plundered the valuable treasure ships of the East Indian Sea.

            In Annotated Watchmen, Leslie Klinger makes a kind of boneheaded suggestion.  He theorizers that the magazine closest to the head of Bernie the newsdealer is titled Home Baker.  It is a lot more likely to be Home Maker, don’t you think?  Especially since there was a Homemaker magazine in the UK in the 1960s, and nowadays too.

 In the comic, the chapter name is in quotation marks, with the credits underneath.  The bound versions contain no credits, and have no quotation marks around title. 
In this and subsequent chapters of the bound editions, the chapter title is printed in a larger font, filling the same width as “title + quotation marks” in original.

           At the end of Laurie’s fight with Jon, we have this non-response from Ol’ Blue-Butt:  “If you think there’s a problem with my attitude, I’m prepared to discuss it.”
            It’s sort of the same answer that Dr Malcolm Long gives his wife in 6:13:7-8.
            And both of these scenes remind me of HAL’s words in 2001: A Space Odyssey, as Bowman is beginning to decerebrate him:  “I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal.”

             When Janey Slater talks about “three packs a day,” she is smoking a ball-pipe – do you suppose she’s talking about “three packs” of the little balls of tobacco which go into the bowl of the pipe?

           Dan’s clock is on 24-hour time, it’s 18:03 = 6:03PM.  This is only notable because a later chapter depicts the clock using 12-hour time.

            Here’s one of the Briticisms in Watchmen that sounds odd coming from an American – when the lock guy says that now Dan is “safe as houses.”

            In the comic, there’s no black bar at the bottom of page 28.
            In bound editions,  the added black bar contains the scripture, its citation, and a clock face.

             On the last page of the comic, the “next month’s Milton Glass” clipping is not in bound editions.

            Thanks for stopping by.  We have nine chapters to go!

Monday, March 12, 2018

WATCHPANELS, Part the Second

One compulsive reader’s observations ...

after gazing into Watchmen for the umpteenth time



            On page 3 of the original comic, the chapter title is on two lines, aligned left, with the credits on right.  Also, the title and credits are a little wider than the panel grid.
            In the bound versions, the chapter title is one line filling this whole space, and the title is within the width of the panels.  The credits are gone, too.

            On the same page, I don’t understand why the flag for Blake’s coffin was folded, but not in the ceremonial triangle.
You’d expect that this would take place, hein?  In case you wondered if the triangle is a military-only tradition, it’s not. The triangle fold is a sign of respect for the flag, not for the person being interred.  Of course, one might argue that the non-triangle shape means that Edward Blake was not involved in Adrian Veidt’s Pyramid Deliveries conspiracy!

             Sally Jupiter’s reminiscences of the Minutemen are illustrated with the taking of the group portrait in 1940.  Take a gander at the panel showing the photographer in his shroud.
            Call me weird, but that white shape reminds me of Hira Manish’s illustration of The Infamous Squid (this panel is on page 11 of Chapter Eight.)

            In that same 1940 flashback, we’re privy to Blake’s attempted rape of Sally.
            It’s only appropriate that Sally scratches Blake at the same place where in 1971, Blake’s Vietnamese dolly would slash him.

             In the 1966 “organizational meeting” for the Crimebusters, Blake is reading the New York Gazette.
           It’s only curious because the masthead has the month and year, but no date. “April, 1966.”

             On page 26, can it be coincidental that while Rorschach’s journal talks about “heads between teats,” Blake is hitting the wall with his head between the teats of the nekkid girl on the wall?

             On the last page of Chapter Two, the comic’s final panel has only the clock.
            It’s the bound versions which have Elvis Costello lyrics.

            On “page 8” of Under the Hood, written in 1962, Mason says the vigilantes are on “America’s West Coast.”  Wouldn’t the “EAST coast,” like New York, be much more accurate?  Mothman was in Connecticut, and the Comedian was cleaning up “the city’s” waterfronts, in NYC.

            On “page 10,” the last page of this chapter, the paperclipped note about forthcoming chapters does not appear in bound volumes.
           This is a scan of my Graphitti copy.

            Thanks for obsessing with me!  Stay tuned for my fixations on Watchmen, Chapter Three, next week.

There was an error in this gadget
All original content
© by Mark Alfred