Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year 2024!

 ...or "May Your Days Be Mer-ry... In FLIGHT!" 

[Click to Enlarge]

Here's an unusual New Year's greeting from DELL FOUR COLOR #149 SMILIN' JACK (Dell Comics, 1947), reprinting a SMILIN' JACK daily newspaper strip from an undetermined New Year's Eve/Day in the 1940s!  

As the copyright on the strips in this issue are for 1940, 1941, I'd assume it would have been for the turning of 1940 to 1941... the last New Year's Eve/Day of peace for too long a while.  Though, to bring it nicely full-circle, when the strip was reprinted by Dell in 1947, peace reigned once again. 

Let's all hope the same applies to 2024!   

Smilin' Jack strip by Zack Mosley. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2023!

This might have been our Christmas card for 2023... and STILL might be if we ever get it together... had the last quarter or so of 2023 played out a bit easier, and less problematic.  No sooner did "Our Crime Story" come to a long-awaited end, than... not one but TWO more whammies hit us in short order (don't ask), effectively ending our 2023 on the downside. 

We are still well, by and large, and moving in the right direction - but far more war-weary than we ought to be, given the good, and overall conventional way we conduct our lives.  But, it's best we start counting down to 2024 right away - 'cause it can't come too soon for us! 

For now, please join Averi, Cici, Logan, Esther, and Joe in the spirit of "the mo-osst won-der-ful tiiime of the yeeear"!  We send all of you our best wishes for a joyous holiday season!  

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!  Your good wishes, and those three li'l angels up top, will make it happy and merry for us!  


Guess what?  On Christmas Day, those "three li'l angles" DID indeed make everything happy, merry, and bright!  

...Knew they would!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Separated at Mirth: Donald's Hammock Havoc!

Donald Duck really oughta give up the hammock bit!  

 No, for once this post is NOT about the infamous "Bird Bothered Hero"!  I promise! 

It seems that too many intrusive woodland creatures either use it as a BRIDGE, as in DONALD DUCK # 221 (Whitman Comics, Cover Date: August, 1980)...

...Or, as a LANDING SPOT, as in CHIP 'N' DALE # 50 (Gold Key Comics, Cover Date: January, 1978)! 

Gotta love those RED SKIES and PURPLE TREES!

At the very least, he should have sought advice from PORKY PIG, who wisely incorporates the woodland creatures INTO his hammock resting! 

Th-th-th-that's all folks!  

 No, wait... Just one more question!  

I've been around a long time, and I've seen many tranquil suburban back yards over those years... AND I HAVE NEVER SEEN A REAL HUMAN BEING SLEEPING IN A HAMMOCK!  

Now, I figure that "sleeping in a hammock" either IS or ONCE WAS a "thing", due to its many depictions in comics and animation... But, have you ever seen it for real?  Just curious!  

It looks as if it would be difficult to get in or out of, yet too easy to fall out of! (Much less be intruded upon from above!) What say you?  

  Just GIVE IT UP, Donald!  

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Cynical Blog Post: I Wanna Hold Your Hand... Then Again, Maybe Not!

When I start becoming cynical about Love - and The Beatles - it's worth noting...

But fear not... I'm probably just working through the lingering aftereffects of "Our (recent) Crime Story", and I'll be as high as ever on the Beatles (...and, in the later years of their original band incarnation, they could be pretty "high" themselves) and Love in a short while! 

When The Beatles first sung "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", they probably never envisioned anything like this sequence from CAPTAIN AMERICA #103 (Marvel Comics, Cover Date: July, 1968)! 

[ Click to Enlarge ]

Or, just focus in the two panels that count...


That's enough to deter even a hopeless (but cynical) romantic like me!  ...Or even this guy...

Oh, and before we leave this issue, let's have a look at the cover and see The Red Skull and what may be the ugliest bunch of Nazis ever to (dis)grace a comic book...

...Including, at... (Ironic Phrasing Alert) the "far right"... a Nazi Mr. Spock! 

WOW!  Talk about "Mirror Mirror"! 

But, hey... It's not as if he hasn't done this bit before!

Um, maybe we'd best go back to something more pleasant... like hand-holding...

...Aw, skip it! 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Our Adventures Through the CROOKing Glass: Out the Other Side and All's Well!

Yesterday (Thursday, December 14, 2023 - as I write this), we have at last turned the final page, read the afterword, glanced briefly at the rear endpapers, and slammed the back cover decidedly shut on "Our Crime Story"!  

And, while it seemed to Esther and I as if it were to be a "never-ending story", it's beginning on November 17, 2023 - and ending on December 14, 2023, clocks it in as just shy of a month!  

...But OH, what a terrible, frenzied, panicked, and ultimately draining month it was!  

Now, since this humble Blog may very well have inherited the mantle of "The Happiest Place on Earth", with the Disney theme parks having fallen from the top spot in recent years - some of it brought on by the actions of the Disney organization itself, but more of it the result of ambitious and overreaching political figures and the groups that support them - I'm not going to elaborate on the details of "Our Crime Story"  in this otherwise "Happy" venue...

...Suffice it to say Esther and I became the victim of TWO completely unrelated crimes - perpetrated by TWO (or more?)  completely unrelated persons - that, through a convoluted and very unlikely series of events, somehow became connected... but only in ways that continued to impact our lives!  

I'm both surprised - and pleased - to say that the ending of "Our Crime Story"  was far "happier"  than I imagined - ultimately resulting in a loss of about fifty dollars in cash, when it could have been considerably more far-reaching! Devastatingly far-reaching, I must add!

If you believe in any sort of "A Great Cosmic Balance", or what some folks call "Due", or anything of that sort, I guess I *might* have had it coming!  But, NOT ESTHER... who lived and worked in the street-crime ridden version of New York City of the 1970s thru the early-to-mid 1980s (...which, alas, has made a comeback in the last few years), and was a three-time victim...

On the other hand, I, who have spent the vast majority of my life in the near-in New York City suburbs - and whose worst brush with crime was having the radio antenna stolen off my car (...coincidently, during the brief period of my adult life that I lived in Brooklyn - as evidenced by all those Letters of Comment I had published in the comics of the "Disney Interregnum" - with thanks to Elaine!).  That is, assuming you don't count as actual "crimes" post-divorce dealings with an ex-wife and the railroading - let alone the outright efforts of career sabotage - associated with toxic office politics!  ...Had a lifetime's worth of THAT STUFF!

It stands to figure that Karma was waiting to serve up a big helping of crime to yours truly and, having done so, I consider that particular instance of "Great Cosmic Balance" achieved and done!  

YOU HEAR ME, KARMA... ACHIEVED AND DONE! ...Go away and drop some crime and (especially) punishment on the domestic and world political leaders (present and recent) who deserve it far more than this humble Blogger who's (mostly) "played by the rules" his entire life! 

Related to this, since I've lived this long without ever breaking a bone, and suffered no greater physical injuries than hand, arm, and face scrapes in a sidewalk fall (save one serious eye injury, caused by a tiny floating piece of construction debris while walking in Greenwich Village in 1982), I DO dread Karma's possible future visit to balance that score - but ENOUGH OF THAT - LET'S RESUME BEING "THE HAPPIEST PLACE (...okay, maybe just "Blog" but my ambitions are set on "place") ON EARTH! 

Our normal (and decidedly "happy") posting will resume very soon!  Thanks for being here! You make it all worthwhile!  

Thursday, November 30, 2023

It's a CRIME-ing Shame!

For that small number of folks who may be wondering why I've gone so silent for a while,  I should let you know that Esther and I have been the victims of TWO completely unrelated crimes... that have since bizarrely connected in ways too complex for me to go into here!

No loss of life, limb, and (maybe?) property, and we probably won't discuss it further here... unless some of you are detectives, police, Batman, or Super Goof!  So, let the speculation run rampant - but, I must emphasize, WE ARE OKAY!!!

This "adventure" began on November 17, 2023, and is still disruptively with us into this morning (November 30, 2023)!  

There IS an end in sight, but we just can't seem to reach it yet, as new twists and layers continue to pile on!

I want to apologize to everyone whose communications and Blog comments I've been forced to ignore, as we continue to work through this ongoing situation!  We'll be back, because you can't keep a good Blog - or good Blogger - down!  

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving 2023 - and Happy 6th Birthday to Averi!

For Thanksgiving 2017, Esther and I gave far more than our standard amount of thanks - for, on that day, in that year, our darling granddaughter AVERI was born!  

And as the calendar works, six years later, her birthday falls on Thanksgiving once again - and so we happily summon up a metric ton of of additional thanks for the wonderful presence in our lives that she has become!  

And still more thanks for Cici and Logan who followed! 

As for Thanksgiving, I'm remined of the time last year, where I showed Averi the great Warner Bros. cartoon "Tom Turk and Daffy" - in which Porky Pig as a pilgrim hunted a frantic turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.  

In her kindergarten class, she had to "disguise" a drawing of a turkey with crayons, paper scraps, etc. lest he be found on Thanksgiving.  Since this was akin to Daffy Duck hiding the turkey from hunter Porky, I showed her the cartoon. 

And, while she laughed at all the antics, she questioned why Porky didn't just buy a turkey at the store like we did!  

You just GOTTA LOVE HER!  

Tuesday, November 7, 2023


One week out from Halloween, 2023, I offer the following observations - and hope they aren't as true everywhere, as they our in my little corner of the world. 

Halloween just ain't what it used to be! 

For most Halloweens in the 21st Century, there's been a steady decline, and a trickling to almost nothing, in the number of trick-or-treaters 'round here!  It's been particularly so since 2020 and COVID, when I was forced to put this sign upon my door.  

This year, Esther and I actually wondered if we should even buy (what has now become our customary) ONE BAG of candy!  Recent tradition prevailed, though, and figuring that some of it would eventually go to Averi and Cici, we chose a bag of candies that "their favorite Yeh-Yeh" (that's me) would also not mind eating over time.  

Over the course of the entire day only ONE GROUP of three girls rang the doorbell, to whom were doled-out a small portion of the underutilized candy! That doling being exclusive of Snickers and Twix, the clear choice of  "Averi and Cici's favorite Yeh-Yeh" (that's still me) to be eaten over time.  

Esther said there was another ring that went unanswered because I was upstairs offloading the soggy contents of the washing machine to the clothes dryer and didn't hear it. If so, I feel bad, but my point remains unchanged!  

That being... Kids just don't trick-or-treat anymore.  

I guess it's just another sign of the unpleasant world we now live in!  (And, say... didn't I begin my last post with that exact same sentence?)

The fear, suspicion, and outright distrust that has gripped our society during the period of 9-11 through the more recent near-decade of toxic politics, post-COVID adjustments, and new wars springing up in what we'd finally begun to regard as reasonably "stable" areas of the world (pretty much this whole damned 21st Century) have, if not outright killed this fun tradition, at least sent it into what looks to be a long hibernation!  

Trick-or-treating is well on its way toward becoming as antiquated and insignificant an activity as... oh, say... giving someone a hotfoot - but without the required matches and resultant foot pain!  

The saving grace to this is that it looks to be ONLY trick-or-treating that is receding into life's great rearview mirror - NOT Halloween itself, which continues to be celebrated in the form of parties, both in schools and private homes, where children can wear their costumes and get candy from persons they know and trust.  ...That MAY actually be a good thing!  

Spooky decorations still abound in our community, though I am personally loathe to decorate the outside of my house for any season or occasion - the work (only to be undone so soon that it's not worth it) and an aversion  to any outdoor efforts in the late fall and winter months are prime factors.  

Still I enjoy and am happy for the (oft-overdone, but nice) decor of others.  Alas, such houses vastly outnumber the actual trick-or-treaters visiting them. 

Averi and Cici, who live in a town just south of us, did have a great time trick-or-treating - and, by accounts, there seemed to be an overall higher level of activity but contained to a very small and specific area.  

No, that's not THEIR house behind them!

Nor is that one - but no lack of creativity here! That's for sure!  

Though, while far from finished, I can't help but wonder if  trick-or-treating isn't something a number of today's kids do simply because they see it on TV!  ...More than they do in real-life! 

Do whatever you can to change my mind, folks!  Our great friend Elaine usually has some more optimistic Halloween stories... hope that's still true!  And the rest of you, please give... but just not candy, I have more than enough of that!  


Sunday, November 5, 2023

What's This All A-BOT?

I guess it's just another sign of the unpleasant world we now live in - and, to be sure, it doesn't rate being in the same galaxy as the horrible, stomach-turning things that are going on with war, politics, race, crime, mass-shootings and whatever is dominating today's news cycle...

...But, I gotta vent it because, for a short while, it was turning me off to Blogging - and this humble Blog has been one of my constant joys since it began in 2008.  

As my regulars know, my Blog had been invaded by a BOT and, as Mickey Mouse (good as he is) can't help ME "Outwit THIS Phantom BOT"...

...Where a previous incursion resulted in the loss many of your valued comments (revisit the event HERE), I'll have to take matters into my own non-four fingered gloved hands!  

It seems that this persistent BOT exists to generate SPAM.  NINE spam, or decidedly spam-like, comments between October 30 and November 03, 2023.  

But not the usual type of spam that most bloggers get, for penis enlargement or solar panels (...presumably to keep your newly-enlarged penis warm and cozy).  Those are easily and routinely thwarted by the use of "Comment Moderation".  

While I have no true-fact basis to back this theory, I feel these unwanted comments are the result of some prankster (nay, VANDAL - perhaps even would-be cyber-terrorist) experimenting with some form of AI!  

Why?  Because the comments are actually "tailored" to the subject matter of whatever randomly-targeted-old-post it zeroes-in on.  BUT, those comments are awkwardly phrased as if they were not naturally composed by a human being!  

Yes, I've considered the possibility that the author might be someone for whom English is not a first language... or even a seventh, or seventeenth, but such persons (to their extreme credit, BTW) always manage to address specific points or aspects of the post they're commenting on and, if the Blogger engages any and all legitimate visitors to his or her Blog as *I* do, sometimes a dialogue might even develop.  

In the case of this BOT, the comments are generic, sometimes TOO GENERIC, but often with a hint of something that may relate to the subject matter of the post.  

But, it's always a regurgitation of something I've ALREADY SAID in the post, or a retrieval of other data easily found online, and spat back more structured and formally (yet, still very awkward) than a human being would normally compose!  


In my DVD Review of the Herman and Katnip DVD set, I said: 

"SUMMARY: It's like TOM AND JERRY, but they TALK! Traverse the 1950s with Herman and Katnip, Paramount/Famous Studios answer to MGM's classic Cat vs. Mouse team Tom and Jerry." 

The BOT says: "Herman & Katnip the classic cat and mouse duo resemblance [sic] to Tom & Jerry cartoons."

HEY, BOTTY-BOY, I just said that... got anything original in your AI arsenal?  

In response to my DVD Review of the Sylvester and Hippity Hopper DVD set, the BOT offered: "Classic animated series debuted in 1930 93 years ago became the longest running cartoons of all time became the compilation film and TV series by Warner Bros." 

Um, sounds like some awkward AI processing of wiki-something-or-other to me!  ...AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FREAKIN' POST!  

Then, there are the absurdly generic ones such as:

"I am the fan of classic animated cartoons and comicbooks in popular media throughout the world."

Um, THE fan?  Surely, there must be four or five more than that!  

And, on the same day, but to a completely different post: 

"I am r fan of classic animated cartoons and comicbooks in popular media throughout the world." followed by eighteen different emojis of "expressive round yellow faces", stars, birds, the Masks of Comedy and Tragedy, a movie director's clapboard, a movie camera, a movie projector, a mainframe computer, a laptop computer, and a TV set with antenna rabbit-ears !  


By now I hope I've convinced you that this is NOT the product of a human being!  ...And why I walked-away from this series of strange happenings for a short period to regroup!  But now it's time to do something and directly address this cyber-pest who seems so obsessed with my Blog!



Your comments will NEVER be published, and will never be addressed again after this post and any comments thereto!  

Thanks to Comment Moderation, they've been dead-ended and moved to SPAM!  I've only kept them in spam long enough to transcribe here and show my readers the sheer absurdity you've been directing toward toward this Blog - for reasons known only to you!   

Now, and for all time to come - if need be, they will be marked as SPAM and immediately deleted!  Neither your unwanted nonsense - nor any self-serving or malevolent links embedded therein - will ever be seen or accessed here!  

You've had your fun, now MOVE ON to someone else's Blog that you can perpetually pepper with your pre-adolescent pearls-of-wisdom!  A Blog without Comment Moderation where your dross can gleefully hide undetected amongst years-old-comments and where you can snicker at your own cleverness from afar!

There's nothing CLEVER about what you've done here... and, most importantly, there is no longer any reason for you to continue doing it!  

Leave this Blog for what it was always intended to be, a friendly and respectful place where persons of common interests can come together free of the snark and vitriol found throughout so much of the Internet!  

I'll be in this for the long haul, so please find a better (but I won't presume "more constructive") use of your time! 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Special Guest Stars Jerry Lewis and Dick Tracy!

From the pages of WONDER WOMAN #114 (DC Comics, Cover Date: May, 1960) comes this fun little curiosity from famed artist Mort Drucker...

A nice combination of comics, poetry, and traffic safety tips. 

But take a closer look at two of the "guest stars" on this first page (of two)...

Why, it's JERRY LEWIS (whose DC Comics title Mort Drucker *did* work on)...

...Though he's clearly not BILLED as "Jerry Lewis", perhaps for royalty reasons? 

...And DICK TRACY!  Perhaps that might even be LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD honking at everyone's favorite square-jawed detective!  
I guess that, by 1960, she simply drove her convertible coupe to Grandma's house! 

Maybe Drucker should have included DONALD DUCK in this character-composite (...Disney lawyers were not nearly as tough in 1960, and he may have gotten away with it!)

And I'd say Donald could use a few good safety tips, don'tcha think?  

Saturday, October 14, 2023

R.I.P. Mark Goddard.

In recent times, I’ve shied away from “R.I.P. posts”, for no more a reason than to reduce the sadness at this humble Blog… but this week was just too much to ignore for such a flimsy reason!

Mark Goddard played many things over his acting career but, to me and many others, he will always be Major Don West of the original (…and still the best) LOST IN SPACE (1965-1968).

Along with Guy Williams’ Professor John Robinson, Mark Goddard’s Major West continued to lend an air of seriousness, urgency, and plain old common sense that (…perhaps not always) balanced off the antics of Doctor Smith and the Robot.

He so perfectly served as an antagonist, counterpoint, and outright foil to Doctor Smith that there became what I called a subset series of LOST IN SPACE episodes that I called “The Don and Smith Shows”, where the two of them would be thrown into a situation together and must depend on each other (amid lots of bickering) to extricate themselves! 

I met Mark Goddard several times at New York conventions, and he very much embodied the warm (…at least when Smith wasn’t around) and enthusiastic (…ditto) gung-ho spirit of Major Don West! 

He said he was proud to have been in a TV series that spanned generations – and was something the whole family could watch and enjoy – unlike much of the prime-time TV fare of the late ‘90s-early 2000s time frame during which we spoke – much less now!

Family values in space! 

His favorite episode was “The Anti-Matter Man”, small wonder since he really got to cut loose in that one! 

He also wrote one issue of a LOST IN SPACE comic book that featured his character.

And speaking of writing, there was also this…

…purchased by me mere weeks before his passing on October 10, 2023 at the age of 87! 

Mark Goddard can also be heard on this wonderful Blu-ray set doing episode commentaries with Bill Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Marta Kristen, and in other special features.

And, of course,  Mark Goddard as Major Don West had many ups and downs over the course of the series...

But he never stopped being one of the rocks of the series...

Piloting the Jupiter II into and out of trouble...

Being that reliable, level-headed presence of the group...

Keeping everybody safe no matter how offbeat the danger...

And doing his best to keep Doctor Smith in check!

...But not always succeeding!

But give him credit for TRYING!  Lots of credit! 
It was a thankless job, but SOMEBODY had to do it! 


Rest In Peace, Mark Goddard… You didn’t get to ride a real-life space shuttle but, to your many fans, you soared nonetheless!   

From the back of Mr. Goddard's Book...

HERE is a link to Me-TV's tribute to Mark Goddard!  

As a point of information: MeTV has been the cable TV home for LOST IN SPACE since at least Spring, 2013 (when I discovered it), running it weekly for OVER TEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS!  

Bill Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen, and Mark Goddard (2015).