Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Mole In The Ministry

Click on image if too small to enjoy .....

................ Ruprecht ( STOP )

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas .....

................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Whatteryamean you can't read it?!? Click the images, already .....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'ven't Ever .....

I don’t know ...

I don’t know who The Raskins are.

I don’t know who their kids are.

As far as I know, I’ve’n’t met a Raskin ever in my lifetime. Nor bumped into one. Nor seen their name anywhere in any of my missives.

But ... The Raskin's Christmas greeting is now nestled snugly within the purview of our own personal cards and letters from friends, family, outlaws and acquaintances.

And, to be sure, we will be sending The Raskins one of ours.

..................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Thursday, December 18, 2008

That ‘Ole Christmas Spirit

Rupe had the most high-larious post office encounter at the tail end of the morning this morganin’.

Whilst walking back to the car after postificationizing, Rupe crossed paths with an Oriental lady that was on her way in. She was dressed in a warm coat, white skirt and be-booted in calf-high black boots. I glanced at her and smiled and kept walking toward my car.

As I approached the car, out from some parking lot bushes came an old gentleman who suddenly yelped out:

“Ooooooooo-eeeeeeeeeeeee Uffff ... !!!”

and gave an arm-cock gesture to further punctuate his outburst.

“That makes me think of sex right there!”
he further exclaimed.

I saw him immediately when he made his first exclamation. I gazed along his line of sight to what the source of his outburst was.

But of course: 'Twas the eye-spying of Bootsy Lady.

I laughed my butt off, though discretely. I wish I had had my camera at that very moment.

I watched him as he stopped in front of the post office, waiting for Bootsy Lady to enter. I just knew he was in hope of opening the door for her. She finally did enter, but through an all-together different route.

A few seconds later, however, Bootsy came out, with the man not far behind, burning holes in the back of her no doubt. My chance to snap shots.

The United States Post Office. Not necessarily the dread locale many believe it to be .....

.................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

"... It came without ribbons, It came without tags, It came without packages, boxes or bags. Christmas can't be bought from a store ...
Maybe Christmas means a little bit more ..."

- Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Kind Of Kick

Well … I’m confused.

Confused by the container above.

You see, I have always considered the word “shredded” the inflected form of the verb “shred”. Shredded - as in having come apart or having been broken up in some way, shape or manner … to tatter, to fragment. You know, like shredded cheese (cheese that has been processed into willowy little pieces in order to be more easily worked with when cooking or preparing something as opposed to a big ‘ole hunka cheese) or shredded beef (which has been pulled apart into small pieces to be applied to a specific recipe).

Apparently, I was wrong. “Shredded” is a type of taste it seems – fresh shredded taste. Something of which I hadn’t heretofore been aware. It appears I have been living in a cave – in the dark, dank bowels of a cave, to be exact - beneath moldy, moist rocks.

“Shredded”. It’s evidently a taste, not a processed action. To wit, a specific taste. The taste of “shred”.

And, in this particular case, it’s the taste of “fresh”.

Fresh. Shredded. Taste.

Pepsi, to me tastes like mold. Many of you know this about me. I am constantly asked if I eat mold on a regular basis when asked why I don’t like Pepsi. No … I do not eat mold as a habit. Nevertheless, Pepsi tastes like mold to me.

Shredded? I have no idea what it tastes like. I’ve never tasted “shred” or “shredded” before, but it seems that I have, unknowingly, as I’ve sprinkled the above cheese on my pasta in the past. And it’s got “fresh shredded taste”. So I must have an idea, an inkling, of what "shredded" tastes like … right?

There are millions of us out there who will be mortified to learn that when it comes to our commonality in understanding the word “shred” and its connotations, said commonality has been vastly altered.

And by the DiGiorno people, no less.

And I am dismayed.

So .... get me the number to the Oxford English Dictionary and a contact name of someone over there I can whine at. That person owes me an explanation.

With my luck, that person'll be tellin' me "shred" has something to do with snowboarding .....

........................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

I am a man of no convictions. At least, I think I am.

- Christopher Hampton, British dramatist

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Mom ... The Back Seat's Prickly ..."

You know it’s a Christmas beneath the cover of an economic depression …

…when people’re so poor they can’t afford rope or twine to tie their trees to the tops of their cars.

……………………. Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, December 8, 2008

Forrest J. Ackerman, One Of My Heroes .....

I am sad to the core at the passing of an icon and hero from my youth:

Forrest J. Ackerman

"Forry" passed Thursday, December 4th, 2008. (Read his obituary below).

For four of the last five years I attended the San Diego Comic-Con, I ate breakfast in the Marriott Hotel sitting across from Forry. He always stopped whatever he was doing in order to wave a hello.

This year, Forry was absent. It was a foreboding “thing to come”, apparently.

This gentle giant of a man was honored and revered throughout his life. He will be sorely missed by this fan.

Go well, Forry.

You were a giant in the industry.

You leave fond memories from this fan's youth and recent past. The Con just won't be the same without you looking up from your breakfast …..

………………….. Ruprecht ( STOP )

(That's Forry with Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury below)

Forrest J Ackerman,writer-editor who coined 'sci-fi,' dies at 92

The Los Angeles native influenced young fans with his Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and spent a lifetime amassing a vast collection of science fiction and fantasy memorabilia.

By Dennis McLellan

December 6, 2008

Forrest J Ackerman, who influenced a generation of young horror-movie fans with Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and spent a lifetime amassing what has been called the world's largest personal collection of science-fiction and fantasy memorabilia, has died. He was 92.

Ackerman, a writer, editor and literary agent who has been credited with coining the term "sci-fi" in the 1950s, died Thursday of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, said John Sasser, a friend who is making a documentary on Ackerman.

As editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Ackerman wrote most of the articles in the photo-laden magazine launched in 1958 as a forum for past and present horror films.

"It was the first movie-monster magazine," Tony Timpone, editor of horror-movie magazine Fangoria, told The Times in 2002.

Timpone, who began reading Famous Monsters as a young boy in the early '70s, remembered it as "a black-and-white magazine with cheap paper but great painted [color] covers. It really turned people on to the magic of horror movies."

Primarily targeted to late pre-adolescents and young teenagers, Famous Monsters of Filmland featured synopses of horror films; interviews with actors such as Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price; and articles about makeup and special effects.

The magazine reflected Ackerman's penchant for puns, with features such as "The Printed Weird" and "Fang Mail." Ackerman referred to himself as Dr. Acula.

"He put a lot of his personality into the magazine," said Timpone, who became friends with Ackerman. "It was a pretty juvenile approach to genre journalism, but as kids that's all we had."

Among those who grew up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland was author Stephen King. Other childhood readers included movie directors Joe Dante, John Landis and Steven Spielberg, who once autographed a poster of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" for Ackerman, saying, "A generation of fantasy lovers thank you for raising us so well."

Ackerman was a celebrity in his own right, once signing 10,000 autographs during a three-day monster-movie convention in New York City.

This, after all, was the man who created and wrote the comic book characters Vampirella and Jeanie of Questar and was the ultimate fan's fan: a man who actually had known Lugosi and Karloff and whose priceless collection of science-fiction, horror and fantasy artifacts ran to some 300,000 items.

For years, Ackerman housed his enormous cache of books, movie stills, posters, paintings, movie props, masks and assorted memorabilia in his 18-room home in Los Feliz.

He dubbed the house the Ackermansion. The jam-packed repository included everything from a Dracula cape worn by Lugosi to Mr. Spock's pointy ears and from Lon Chaney Sr.'s makeup kit to the paper-plate flying saucer used by director Ed Wood in "Plan 9 From Outer Space."

For Ackerman, a native Angeleno born Nov. 24, 1916, it all began at age 9.

That's when he stopped at a drugstore on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Western Avenue in Hollywood and bought his first copy of the science-fiction magazine Amazing Stories.

Ackerman was helplessly hooked.

By his late teens, he had mastered Esperanto, the invented international language. In 1929, he founded the Boys Scientifiction Club. In 1932, he joined a group of other young fans in launching the Time Traveler, which is considered the first fan magazine devoted exclusively to science fiction and for which Ackerman was "contributing editor."

Ackerman also joined with other local fans in starting a chapter of the Science Fiction Society -- meetings were held in Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown L.A. -- and as editor of the group's fan publication Imagination!, he published in 1938 a young Ray Bradbury's first short story.

During World War II, Ackerman edited a military newspaper published at Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro. After the war, he worked as a literary agent. His agency represented scores of science-fiction writers, including L. Ron Hubbard, Isaac Asimov, A.E. van Vogt, H.L. Gold, Ray Cummings and Hugo Gernsback.

In 1954, Ackerman coined the term that would become part of the popular lexicon -- a term said to make some fans cringe.

"My wife and I were listening to the radio, and when someone said 'hi-fi' the word 'sci-fi' suddenly hit me," Ackerman explained to The Times in 1982. "If my interest had been soap operas, I guess it would have been 'cry-fi,' or James Bond, 'spy-fi.' "

At the time, Ackerman already was well-known among science-fiction and horror aficionados for his massive collection. After a couple from Texas showed up on his doorstep in 1951 asking to view the collection, Ackerman began opening up his home for regular, informal tours on Saturdays. Over the years, thousands of people made the pilgrimage to the Ackermansion.

The Dracula/Frankenstein room featured a casket as a "coffin table" and the cape Lugosi wore in the stage version of "Dracula." A case displayed one of the horror film legend's bow ties, which, Ackerman would gleefully note, contained a drop of blood.

Among the collection's other highlights: the ring worn by Lugosi in "Dracula," the giant-winged pterodactyl that swooped down for Fay Wray in "King Kong," Lon Chaney's cape from "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Metropolis" director Fritz Lang's monocle.

The affable Ackerman would escort his visitors through the priceless warren of books, posters and memorabilia, settling into a chair in each room and answering questions.

"He was always just a big kid," said Fangoria's Timpone. "I really cherished all the times I've been with him."

Ackerman wrote more than 2,000 articles and short stories for magazines and anthologies, sometimes under the pseudonyms Dr. Acula, Weaver Wright and Claire Voyant.

He also wrote what has been reported to be the first lesbian science-fiction story ever published, "World of Loneliness." And under the pen name Laurajean Ermayne, he wrote lesbian romances in the late 1940s for the lesbian magazine Vice Versa.

Ackerman edited or co-edited numerous books, including "A Book of Weird Tales" and "365 Science Fiction Short Stories."

Over the years, he made numerous cameo appearances in films, including Dante's "The Howling" and Landis' "Innocent Blood." Landis also had Ackerman eating popcorn behind Michael Jackson in the movie theater scene in his "Thriller" video.

Famous Monsters of Filmland ceased publication in 1983, but returned a decade later with Ray Ferry as publisher and Ackerman as editor. Ackerman, however, reportedly had a falling out with Ferry and left the magazine. Years of litigation followed. In 2000, after a civil trial, Ackerman won a trademark infringement and breach-of-contract lawsuit against Ferry, though he said a year later that he had not yet collected a penny of the judgment.

In recent decades, according to a 2003 Times story, Ackerman slowly sold pieces of his massive collection in order to survive. Because of health problems and his still-unresolved legal battle, he put up all but about 100 of his favorite objects for sale in 2002.

The same year, he moved out of the Ackermansion and into a bungalow in the flats of Los Feliz. But he continued to make what was left of his collection available for fans to view on Saturday mornings.

"I call it the Acker Mini-Mansion," he said.

Ackerman's wife, Wendayne, died in 1990; he has no surviving family members.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And So It Goes ...

The 5th was our birthday.

Yes. We share the same birthday: December 5th.

Not only does it make for some interesting conversation, it makes for some interesting situations as well.

Our respective jobs laid celebrations on us. I received “the call” into the boss’s office wherein the staff was gathered and “surprised”. (My boss is a poor actor - you can see through his attempts to cajole and stupefy a mile away.) I had a yummy homemade spice cake with delicious cream frosting for my reward. “Happy Bulldog” - the unofficial firm mascot - was written in blue gel on the cake. Wife of Rupe had a “Raider” party, complete with an Oakland Raiders theme: plates, napkins, cups, silver and black balloons and streams, et al.

I picked her up after I got off work that afternoon. One of our first ventures of our birthday day was a trip to the local DMV to renew our drivers’ licenses. I had to take the written test, she did not. Paperwork was turned in, fees were paid and it was over to the photo sections to take a new shiny, bright image of the two of us. The fun little guy behind the camera received Wife of Rupe’s paperwork and asked her for her thumbprint on a little optical scanner. “You need to sanitize that, don’t you think?” she asked the guy afterward. “You’re right!” came the response and he whipped out a little spray container, schpritzed the scanner and gave it a couple wipes.

My turn. Paperwork, thumbprint. “Hmmmm ... for some reason I can’t get a good read on your print,” the man puzzled. Realization hit me and I’m sure there was surprise on my face. I had been decorating the day before and handling fresh Christmas garland. The gloves I wore to help protect from the sap disintegrated to nothing while I was working and became more of a hinderance then a help, so I doffed them and worked bare handed. The result was that my hands were sappy by the end of my day. Showering that evening, I used a pumice stone to help get the dried pine sap removed. I pumiced my hands and fingertips vigorously. No wonder the guy couldn’t get a read on my prints - I had none to offer! They had been sanded into oblivion.

“Oh well ... that will have to do,” he finally gave in.

And photo time. Now ... Rupe rarily takes “normal” photos where they’re to be displayed on things like membership cards, documents and the like. And I wasn’t about to do so this time.

“Smile!” came the suggestion from my little friend. I grimaced and screwed my face up. He chuckled and waited for the image to appear on his monitor. He turned the monitor to Wife of Rupe and asked: “Is this the picture you want him to have on his license?”

“It’s his license,” came the reply from my wife. “He’s the one that’s going to get arrested and he’ll have to hand his license with that photo to the officer arresting him.”

I received my paperwork back and wished him a Happy Holiday.

Next up was the written test. I didn’t study for the thing at all, just glanced at the book for review. I got two questions wrong, one because I had skipped over it accidentally and didn’t mark an answer down. The only thing of interest during the test was when I was in line to have it graded. A young girl was ahead of me. When she handed in her test, the lady behind the counter she handed it to grabbed it, graded it and exclaimed without looking up “You barely passed! You need to drive better! Don’t kill anyone out there!” She handed back the girl’s test with a sneer on her face. *yikes* One of the cons of working at the DMV, I supposed. Attitude at no charge.

Leaveing the DMV, it was getting near to dinnertime. Wife of Rupe and I had considered a nice little evening out, just the two of us. But I had to make another suggestion. “I know the girls are champing at the bit to go out and celebrate with us. And with your mother here, it won’t kill us to have an evening out with everyone to help celebrate. We can go out afterward.” My wife reluctantly agreed.

A local steakhouse was the first choice. The girls both loved the pre-dinner ritual of tossing peanut shells on the floor (as is the establishment’s custom), but Rupe had one more idea. “It just so happens we have three complimentary meal passes at Soup Plantation. Dinner for the girls and drinks would be all we’d have to spring for. The adults eat free!” Wife of Rupe was not thrilled, but saw the wisdom of this logic. After all, the girls love going to
Soup Plantation.

We arrived home, packed everyone up and headed out to the restaurant. We'd barely sat down to eat when my mother-in-law was up and at’em, talking to one of the waiters in the place. I had an inkling of what was coming.

Moments later, two of the waitestaff came over to our table bearing a concoction of ice cream smothered in chocolate sauce and what looked to be Fruit Loops. While neither my wife nor I were thrilled with the coming event, the girls on the other hand were thrilled with the “surprise”.

One waiter asked my youngest daughter sitting across from me what her name was. She told him. He asked my name. I told him. He raised his hands and, in the loudest voice possible, announced: “Excuse me! Can I have your attention? We have a couple of birthdays over here and I would like everyone to take a moment and sing happy birthday to them!” My mother-in-law jumped in and told him it was not the little one’s birthday, but our birthdays. The waiter asked my wife her name, got it wrong and began singing anyway.

The entire restaurant stopped what they were doing and joined in.

The capacity of the restaurant was 275 people. And it was filled. Everyone sang. And I mean everyone. All eyes were on us. Whoops and hollers ended the singing of the song. We knew the embarassment of the moment would pass ... eventually ... and we grinned and bared it.

When the attention toward us had subsided and I was able to stop grinning goofily and thanking the girls for the surprise, I leaned over the gloopy ice cream and Fruit Loop creation that was now melting onto the table and said to my wife: “Next time, we go out quietly as we planned. And I want you to dissuade me if I suggest otherwise.” She agreed with a simple “Bet on it.”

With dinner over, the kids and the MIL were deposited back at the house. We wanted to spend our remaining hours of the evening together to do a bit more Christmas shopping ..... without any distractions.

Barely 45 minutes and all the stores were closed for the evening. We did what we could do in that short period.

Then it was off to get a relaxing drink. “Acapulco” (a Mexican restaurant) called out to us for some reason, but when we went in, the bar was packed with raucous, boozing free-for-allers engaging in something akin to conversation, but verging on yelling instead. Wife of Rupe, who dashed into the ladies room (and regaled me later of a trio of girls within puking their guts up), joined me ... then turned tail and beckoned me follow her away from the frolickry. Way, way too much noise, too many people.

*sigh* It was off to “Chilis”, Rupe’s “favorite locale”. (Don’t slip on the dripping sarcasm.) Suprisingly, however, the bar was pleasant and not crowded and there were various games on with music in the background. A calm, cool and collected atmosphere to discuss the day’s events and non-events (such that they were) and relax with a nightcap.

The beertender was even were able to pull a Winterfest Heifenseisen
out of the tap - icey cold and to Rupe’s complete approval.

Then came the capper to the evening. A Mexican couple walked in - he in a Raiders shirt and she in a black T-shirt with something I couldn’t quite make out.

Once positioned in her seat, however, I was able to see the shirt clearly. It asked the crucial question:

“¿y las tortillas?”

Rupe about busted a gut laughing at that .....

......... Ruprecht ( STOP )