Thursday, January 31, 2013

Asmodeus The Demon

It is commonly thought to be an error in judgement to invoke the name of a demon lest that demon hear its name spoken and have the option to visit the invoker of his/her name by means of the window such an invocation opens. One of my favorite demons in literature is Asmodeus. 

He appears in Milton's Paradise Lost as one of the fallen angels. That's some heavy street cred. It is thought that Solomon himself called upon Asmodeus to help him in the construction of the Temple. That's also a pretty heavy item to list on your bad dudes resume. Asmodeus was there in many of the Hebrew fables, too, where he was said in The Book of Tobit to have murdered seven husbands of a woman named Sarah and was only confounded when God sent the angel Raphael to intervene, which he did after Asmodeus fell victim to the smell of fish liver and heart, which he is said to find repugnant. 

Always stylish, Asmodeus is devoted to oppression and might through subversive action. Asserting power over others through power, cunning, self-mastery, and discipline is paramount to followers of Asmodeus. Finally, Asmodeus is an ancient schemer and deadly manipulator, orchestrator of the most Machiavellian of schemes. He lays plans millennia in advance, patiently biding his time until his machinations come to fruition. In short, use great care when invoking the name of this Arch Devil. 

Speaking of demons, if you like death metal, Church of the Necronomicon is for you. But it's more than just death metal. Check out this recent interview with Cheap Trick drummer Bun. E Carlos. Reviews, interviews, up and coming bands. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Belial and His Ranseur

Belial is less of a demon than a devil, if such differentiations make a wit of difference. Belial is said to have both the most handsome and diabolic appearance of all the devils. He is a tall, dark humanioid with small horns on his head, dresses always in regal finery and carries a ranseur. He is handsome and sexual, with large slanted eyes that smolder red. he reigns over the Fourth circle of Hell. 

The weapon Belial is carrying here is most accurately identified as a ranseur. I saw  some fascinating weapons displayed at the Art Institute in Chicago and it got me to thinking how a weapon might be an appendage of one's personality. What type of creature uses a fork?

Here's a nice assortment of forks not meant to eat a salad with. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Abraxus Busts the Dialectic Bracket

I'm not asserting interpolation is for the flabby-minded. Most people consider themselves on pretty solid ground phenomenologically speaking if they stay squarely within the parameters of what it is acceptable to believe. That's also been a standard definition of sanity for most of human history. Believe whatever everyone else does and you're sane. Deviate from that and you're unsane. But what if it turned out barely anything we had put between those brackets was true? Then what? Hmm?

One conception of god neither good or evil, but outside of both parameters is the Gnostic god/demon Abraxas. Just a creator being, possibly evil, but certainly nothing like the Christian conception of a loving, personal god. The Zoroastrians and even the Hebrews also had sects that believed in a similar being responsible for creating us, but largely indifferent, or possibly even evil.

Like the demon Baphomet, Abraxas is largely an  amalgamation of various myths, usually involving a god/demon creator that is neither bound to the concept of good or evil, but outside the dialectic altogether. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shazam and Isis: Why Did Our Parents Hate Us So Much

I loved the Super Friends. That first season when they battled the Legion of Doom was superb. Then they changed it. Got rid of the ancillary members I liked and added the Wonder Twins and a monkey named Gleek. And it sucked. But as much as it sucked it was still a million times better than this dipshit show I remember called Shazam, which was paired up with an even lamer show called Isis in a one hour block of television that should have been title The Child Torture Hour but was cleverly titled The SHAZAM!/Isis Hour. It seemed like longer than an hour whenever I was forced to watch this crap. 

Captain Marvel? More like Captain Lame-O. I never did willingly sit through an episode of this. Here's Isis...

Ba-Bye now. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Abbey Road Rhinos

I realize at this point in human history everyone on the planet has written at least one children's book. But a significantly lower number of humanity has illustrated a children's book. That's why when you find an illustrator you can work with, who not only can see your vision, but expand on it, you hold on to that person like gold. Jenny Mathews of Tiny Drawings is such an artist. She can draw anything. Usually within a half hour. I can't believe the amount of people who want her to draw something for them. It's amazing because as a writer almost nobody ever asks me to write anything for them. But everyone needs something drawn. This is a page from our book The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rockford City Hall, Old and New, During a Blizzard

I was on Ebay today looking for anything interesting about Rockford, Illinois, and I came across some really neat postcards. From my window I'm able to see many of the historical buildings in the city. One of my favorites is Old City Hall. It's now used for low cost housing, and when I moved Downtown I almost moved in, but I had my heart set on one of the basement apartments that had been used as jail cells in the past and none were available, so I moved here to Zombie Logic Press international headquarters. 
Because I can see this building from my west window I assumed I should have a picture of it in my files somewhere. But I have only pictures of the blizzard that happened three years ago. 

Everyone knew the snow was coming and bought all the Wonder Bread and milk from the stores. Then the snow started.

And it snowed hard. You can see both the old and new City Hall buildings in this picture. The new city hall is to the right.

I often wonder how life would have been different if I had moved into Old City Hall instead of this place. It's been a really good stretch here. Getting to work with Jenny. We've done a lot of good work together. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 1979 White Sox and Their Funny Names

There wasn't very much that was funny about the 1979 White Sox. Except for their names. And Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall calling their wives' sluts. Here are my three funniest names from the 1979 White Sox roster.

And Hall of Fame funny namer Rusty Kuntz

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jack Soo and the Barney Miller Theme

For several years I didn't have a television. Then I got one with the HDTV adaptor box so I could watch football on Sundays. But now with the advent of Antenna TV I have been rediscovering shows I loved in the past like Leave It To Beaver, The Alfred Hitchcock Show, and Barney Miller. In fact, I watched two solid hours of Barney Miller Wednesday night and the moment that theme son begins I reflexively start playing my air bass. I literally couldn't stop myself from doing this if I tried. This afternoon on the drive home from Chicago we saw a SOO railway car and I knew what had to be done. 

Jack Soo, star of Barney Miller, maker of the world's worst coffee, and secret train conductor.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ken Dixon's Zombiethon: A Wizard Video Classic

Wizard Video released the zombie compilation home video Zombiethon in 1986. It was one of their last successes, and contained clips from Zombie, Fear, Zombie Lake, The Astro Zombies, A Virgin Among the Living Dead, and Oasis of the Zombies. 

Let's start with Fear. The reason you won't be able to find this movie, despite the fact that it stars Laura Gemser,  is that it's actually titled Murder Syndrome.

Fear (Murder Syndrome) will be the most difficult movies from Zombiethon for you to find. But keep looking, it's out there. My favorite part of Zombiethon has nothing to do with the zombie movie scenes, but the various interstitial zombie shorts Ken Dixon shot to wrap around them.

Zombie Matinee.

Many of the scenes involve women being chased into The El Rey theatre while zombies are watching a variety of movies. It's one of the great things of all time. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Catfish Hunter and Why They Called Him Catfish

Catfish Hunter is a Hall of Fame pitcher who hurled for the A's and the Yankees, compiling 224 wins against 166 losses, with with 2,012 strike outs and a career 3.26 ERA. Good numbers. Really good numbers. If he'd compiled those numbers ten or twenty years later it's unlikely today's Hall of Fame voters would have voted him in, but that's not this blog is about.

Every city seems to have a few men named Catfish. We have three Catfish here. And they always seem to be a Doctor John blues harmonica holdover from the days of hobos. I proposed at one time there should be a law enacted limiting each municipality to only one Catfish. Seems like one of these should be sufficient.

But James Augustus Hunter doesn't seem to fit the profile of the shambling blues man who always seems to spontaneously appear whenever there's benefit for some age-old veteran of the music scene who has passed on. So, how did Jim Hunter get the nickname Catfish?

he doesn't look very catfishy here as a young pitcher with the Oakland A's, though it's clear he self-identified himself as a Catfish by his signature.

However by 1979 he did start to resemble a catfish. Maybe it's akin to the phenomenon where pet owners start to look like their pets. Maybe people start to look like their nicknames. But what's the real story?

The story behind this nickname is quite simple. Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley made it up out of whole cloth because he thought his young pitcher needed a catchy nickname. There was also a story that he was given the nickname when he caught a large fish as a small boy, but the truth is the nickname has no meaning at all. There you have it. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chester Marcol Is No Beasley Reece

I remember a Packers/Bears football game from when I was about ten. I know we were watching this game. The Bears were winning. The game was tie after regulation. 6-6. They went into sudden death overtime and the Packers were going to try a field goal. But Alan Page blocked the field goal and one of the wierdest dudes I remember grabbed the ball and ran into the end zone for a Packers' victory. This dude.

Chester Marcol. I remember him looking even stranger and more improbably than this as he ran towards the end zone. I remember it looking a little more like this...

Now that's what I remember. One of the goofiest things I ever saw.  The Packers lost Saturday to  Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. But by a good old fashioned butt whoopin' not some goofy touchdown scored by a guy who looks like a chemistry teacher.

Does Google Even Know You Exist

Do you own your name? What I mean is if you were to enter your name into Google would you be the first entry? I wonder what percentage of people on the planet are first in the search rankings for their own name. I am. Because I have an unusual name. I can go on for pages and pages before I even see a search entry not related to me. My father with the same name, no search entries at all.

Does he therefore not exist?

In the future will he exist less for his lack of being recognized by Google?

I have to admit part of my life is dedicated to making myself relevant to Google. It has become one of the manias of modern culture. If Google doesn't know you then you don't exist. 

Now Google will tell you the best way to get them to recognize and verify your existence is to do something good. But is that true?

I don't see that Google makes any real determination between good and bad when deciding who is and isn't extant. I don't see that Google makes any real determination between what is good and what is bad in terms of quality either. 

And that's one of the things I love about creating for the search engines. They simply couldn't care any less if you're the best person in the world or the worst. 

These are the Wild West days of the internet. Or perhaps the Wild West days have passed, but either way we're witnessing the infancy of the most incredible exchange of information in history.

And at the center of that advance is a corporation that seems to have no concern if their platform is being used for good, evil, or any other agenda.

I like that. It allows the rest of us to make we will of the internet. The internet has become and should be a reflection of who we are as a culture. 

I believe it is. This is who we are. 

And I like it.

Rescue Time estimated this Google logo cost America 4.82 million man hours. Obviously Rescue Time doesn't know  the American worker very well.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Addam's Family Pinball Machine

I used to love playing The Addam's Family pinball machine. I'd go to Dollar Video after classes at Rockford College, then go to this small arcade on Alpine and play the machine. I think oneday I will buy one of these units and put it in the basement. 

The mamushka. Hey! Hey!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Shitty Syllogism For My Friend Bradley

My favorite Christopher Lee performance has to be in The Wicker Man. Bradley Lastname is possibly the finest twister of words and ideas I know of. I wrote this poem for him.

Shitty Syllogism For My 
Friend Bradley

If the enemy of my enemy 
Is my friend 
Then the enema of 
My enemy must be 
The spirit of Christopher Lee 
Come back to spite me 
In liquid form.