Posts Tagged ‘sci-fi’

Mailbag, response, and question

December 1, 2011

A few days ago, I got the following comment to a post from alert reader R-K-A:

I am leaving this comment here, because I can’t find any other way to contact you.

[Nice stuff that came next in the comment is omitted because in addition to the virtues of beauty and wit, I am super modest, possibly the most extraordinarily modest person that you’ll ever find. When I die, they’ll probably give me a holiday for it. “In loving and eternally awed honor of E, the government presents Modesty Day: A day for being super modest.” I get teary thinking about it. Because of how great I am. Back to the mailbag.]


I was looking for information on Playmate Angela Dorian who was sentenced in September 2011 to nine years in prison for the attempted murder of her husband. Specifically, I was looking for her booking photo or photos from her sentencing, yet I can find nothing anywhere on the web.

And I was surprised as newsworthy as that was, that there was no mention of that here. It is as if Hef has exerted control over the entire interwebs to keep this story on the on the down low. Even The Smoking Gun didn’t have her recent photos. You seem to be able to unearth the most interesting stuff…anything on Angela??

Totally fair questions and observations, especially about how I write interesting things. Very astute.

Truth is, I got burned a while back by Miss November 1988 (she and I’ve agreed that I am not to mention her name any longer) when she found an entry alluding to past court troubles, and owing to the headache and anxiety of that experience I have avoided reporting on Playmate crimes — accused or convicted — as a result. While I do keep up with PB news, I don’t generally report it if it seems salacious or … how shall I put this? Lawsuit-threat-inducing.


As Charisma Highcloud in “The Indian Affairs Affair.” The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1966).

Victoria Rathgeb/Victoria Vetri/Angela Dorian’s arrest was a strong blip on my radar when it happened in October of 2010, especially because we are both Italian-American and she’s done fun sci-fi and cult stuff, but I lost track of the story.


As Sanna in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

I’m disappointed to hear now of such a hefty penal outcome for someone of her age and moderate notoriety (which can be a genuinely dangerous liability for a woman in jail), especially considering that, though she has a history of a bad temper, she’s never attempted murder before. Nine years seems excessive to me, but I do not have access to all the facts, and, like I said, I’m Italian-American: am I not taking this seriously enough? My first thought was, “Jeez, it’s not like he’s dead. He probably needed scaring. What’d he do?”


As Florence of Arabia, partner to King Tut, in “I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Batman (1967).

But, lord, that’s a terrible thing to do, shooting someone with intent to kill, even in the heat of the moment. However, in this case, nine years? She’s 66. She’ll be 75 when she gets out. That’s … I don’t know. Seems disproportionately tough to me.


As Isis in “Assignment: Earth.” Star Trek, TOS (1968).

Detailed intel on Mrs. Rathgeb’s arrest and trial has been sparse, maybe through lack of interest on the press’s part given that, though she seriously winged her husband Bruce — the bullet remains lodged in his chest and his use of his left hand is minimal … and it probably didn’t help that she tried to stuff a plastic baggie down his throat while he was down — she didn’t actually kill him.


As Sanna in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

Or the lack of coverage is more likely due to editors’ determination that even stories about Playmates focus on modern celebutards — Hef’s recently former fiancee auctioning the ring, Lindsay Lohan completing her nude shoot before sentencing, etc. All the articles on Mrs. Rathgeb’s sentencing state pretty much the same bare facts, in limited terms, and seem to prefer to use her PMOY cover as the accompanying pic, which I agree is frustrating.


As Florence of Arabia, partner to King Tut, in “I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Batman (1967).

Luckily, I’m a good detective. First, here are pictures of her mostly-recovered husband Bruce’s injuries. Click to enlarge. (Raise your hand if you think he looks like a douche.)

And here are pictures from her trial. Click to enlarge. I’m uncertain whether this is her sentencing or her original trial, but looks like she’s a lefty. Who knew?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Victoria/Angela, given that she was not just a PMOY but also appeared on Batman, Star Trek, AND the B movies When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Invasion of the Bee Girls. Perhaps a lawyer will appeal her sentence, or perhaps the sentence is just. It’s difficult to say. That’s all I have for right now, having quickly dug for twenty minutes or so. I may return to this question in the future, but for now I need to close this post so I can learn more about “chunking” on the ukulele for a lesson plan on antonyms. Also, full disclosure: I have to go to the bathroom.


As Charisma Highcloud in “The Indian Affairs Affair.” The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1966).

Before I dash away, a quick poll: would you like a Winter Wonderland post on Ms. Dorian, aka, Mrs. Rathgeb? She is a Miss September, technically, but it would be topical. However, it would not go in to details of her trial and sentencing. What do you say?

Finally, in other news, I also got a comment from “Anonymous” on a recent repost of William S. Burroughs’ “Thanksgiving Prayer,” which said simply

stupid post – 1 minute of my life i will never get back.

To you, Anonymous, I say in equally succinct reply, “Suck my modest dick.”

Take-two Tuesday: William Blake Month — “The Fly”

October 4, 2011

This entry originally appeared on June 22, 2010 at 1:44pm.

Late post, am I right? I’ve been invovled in some deep bookfoolery which I will explain below. The heading of each of the chapters in a book I read last night/today is followed by a quote, and one such quote was from this poem of Blake’s.


via

Little Fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?


For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death;


via

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

(William Blake, “The Fly.”)

So — the lateness in the day. Yes. Sorry, but I am not even firing on four let alone six cyllinders today. See, I went against all my usual instincts and quickly finished my yearly series last night wayyy ahead of time and I refuse to let that happen with my other obligations, so when I dropped the last in the series to the floor, I dug in to my pile and instead of snatching up The Tommyknockers (absolutely not touching it until July 2nd or 3rd or I will not be where I need to be for the 4th and I cannot afford any more Bad Days), I started this book my cousin Mary loaned me called The Descent.

I was initially skeptical and, at points, flirting with grogginess from the overabundance of sleep-inducing substances I pour down my throat every night in an effort to quiet the seven-headed rock dragon of my insomnia which makes the Balrog look like a Pound Puppy, but it was amazing shit, full of caves and sci-fi creatures and anthropology and linguistics and religious themes and Hell and mountaineers and Jesuits and everything else that rings my bell, and before I knew it I was completely sucked in to the throat of it. I powered through the layers of tylenol pm, Miller, and a slug of Ny-Quil I’d taken earlier, ignoring my sandy eyelids because I Couldn’t Stop Reading, and, having finally shook off any need for sleep and finished the last sentence and closed the book thoughtfully at around nine this morning, I can confidently say I’m a believer.


via

I slid it under my bed and lay reflecting on what I’d read for a few minutes, because I felt like there had been some unresolved plot points, then I suddenly did this herky jerky twitch and thought, “How many standalone science fiction novels are that long? Plus … it was set in ’99, but the cover was new. No dog-eared pages. Mary would’ve loaned it to me years ago if she hadn’t just recently bought and read it. It’s a new book.” Reprint. Why?


via

Totally excited by this chain of thought, I flipped my ass in the air, dove under my bed and grabbed the book back out of my piles and checked the front. HELL YES: among the author’s other books listed by the publisher is one titled The Ascent, which I think it is fair to conjecture can only be a sequel, so now that I’ve finished all the housework and cooking I’d planned previously to do in the hours of the morning I’d spent reading, I’m going to cruise out to the used book store by my house and see about scaring that bitch up for tonight — and see if there are more. Keep you posted. Don’t worry about the insomnia thing: I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.

Heinlein Month: A lion caged with a lamb

July 7, 2011


Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962).

We lived like that “Happy Family“ you sometimes see in traveling zoos: a lion caged with a lamb.

It is a startling exhibit, but the lamb has to be replaced frequently.

(Robert A. Heinlein, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958.)


Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962).

The lamb has to be replaced frequently.

Talk nerdy to me: You and me and everyone we’ve ever fucked is a Tusken Raider

February 12, 2011


via.

Stumbled over this picture and it really tickled me. “I don’t care what you say, Daddy! I love my Tusken Raider!” [Cue: “He’s A Rebel (And he’ll never, ever be any good)”.] It inspired me to share a little sad personal Funny Business.

I have a lengthy sketch I’ve written about a woman who’s dating a Tusken Raider. She’s not dating him because she’s a sand-person-perv or because she’s particularly desperate, per se. She just is. Everyone with whom she interacts stands in as the audience’s interlocutor, recognizing the bizarre fruitlessness of what she’s doing in various situations involving her dating a Tusken Raider, but to her this is all perfectly normal.

In developing this idea, I had to ask myself some questions along the way, which is the way I prefer to work — I think of something I think is funny and then ask myself questions that will help me expand on the kernel of (usually weird) humor. In this case the one question that truly lit the lamp which shed light over the whole bit was, “Can they talk to each other?” It shed light because of this:

First, I tried to picture them sitting in the Olive Garden and her saying, “This is nice. I’m glad we came, I haven’t been here for awhile.” And him hooting and waving his walking/beatdown staff around (yes, he always has the gaderffii, including at his job as an accounts payable clerk for a cafeteria supplies vendor), his bellows unintelligible.

Would she then nod and say, “Of course, they’ve changed the decor. New sconces! You’re right”? Mm. No. Not funny enough. Not right.

How about he hoots and waves the gaderffii and she pretends to understand him? “Wawawarr! Baahh! Garghh!” “My day? How sweet of you to ask. Pretty good. How about yours?” Deluded and a little funnier, but no. Still not right.


“I can’t believe you let me get two desserts! I have to go to the gym.”

Finally, I made a writing choice: No, they absolutely cannot talk to each other. At all. Their words are totally meaningless to one another’s ears. Everything they do together is a case of tandem solitude, parallel behavior uncouched in any deeper meaning, more like comfortable coincidence than love.

“This is nice. I’m glad we came, I haven’t been to the Olive Garden for awhile.” “Bluloodoomarr! Grah! Waahh!” “Do you want to split an appetizer?” “Barrgh. [stamps gaderffii] Aroo!”

You know why that was just right on my funny meter? Because it demonstrates the frustrating absurdity of attempts at human connection. In the same place at the same time and full of totally different thoughts, dreams, and ideas of what it means? Just noising at each other in context but taking no notice of the content? That’s dating.*

You and me and everyone we’ve ever fucked is a Tusken Raider.

Unpleasant truths: now that’s Funny Business. Barrgh. Aroo.






*Unless you find that special someone, blah blah blah. Not knocking those who’ve made, or think they’ve made, it work. Just observing.

Talk nerdy to me: What’s wrong with this picture?

February 6, 2011


via fyeahst on the tumblr.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Uhura is sitting in the captain’s chair. She’s a girl. Get real!

Take-two Tuesday — Talk nerdy to me: LeVar Burton “The science of peace” edition

January 12, 2011

This post originally appeared on April 25, 2010, at 2:18 pm.

I have mentioned before that I follow me the shit out of some LeVar Burton on the twitter, which keeps me abreast of his doings. I have these pictures up mainly to get your attention.


From LeVar Burton’s twitpic account. With the Shat-man. Look at those OG’s! Super-cute!

It is obvious, accepted, manifest fact that LeVar Burton is one of the coolest and best human beings to walk the earth. Duh. Would you like to be as basically all-around amazing and centered and loving and a vessel of karmic groove in this universe Just Like Him? Then let’s talk about LeVar’s involvement with the extremely cool documentary The Science of Peace, dudes!

What if …
  • …science discovered a unified field of consciousness which affected the way people think and behave?
  • …we could find a way to consciously impact this field with our thoughts and feelings?
  • …a global media event would succesfully enroll millions of people to participate in an unprecedented world peace experiment?

    (official site)


  • with the amazing STEVIE WONDER!!

    Great minds from Tesla to Kant to Rosseau to Jung have believed in this tantalizing possibility of reaching a positive meta-energy which just might happen to be God’s will for mankind, so don’t dismiss it straight out of hand as tree-hugging hippie crap! There is some real Science to this, guys.

    Hosted by LeVar Burton, The Science of Peace features pioneering physicists, biologists, and philosophers who are established in the emerging new field of Peace Science.

    The film effectively illustrates how each person, when bringing peace in to his or her own life, becomes an instrument for global peace.

    He is also the executive producer. Putting this post together lead meto some really neato-terrific and amazing sources.


    Yes.

    I hope to share more about Peace Studies soon but here is the essential lowdown on relative newcomer Peace Science, which is the subject of the documentary: it is a hard-science effort to unify the threads of ideas that run through the incredibly important social sciences movement of Peace Studies. The Peace Science Society has an explanation of the various philosophies and social sciences that comprise the touchstones of the “argument” for peace studies at Penn State, and it is always well-spent time to give the latest articles in The Acorn a spin. (The Acorn is the official journal of the Gandhi-King society. If you don’t feel like subscribing, it’s on ProjectMUSE and the JSTOR.)


    Great picture with Nichelle Nichols. Remember on Dr. King’s Day when she came up? In case you forgot, the factoid that was related then was how she was thinking of leaving the TOS cast and Dr. King told her to stay because Lt. Uhura was a wonderful role model for people of color, especially women. Soooo great.

    Anyway, check the documentary’s official site out and show some love by visiting the “How You Can Help” section — it’s too late to participate in the documented experiment, but you can still donate and help subside costs for production, travel, distribution, etc. Cool beans!

    Holly Jolly Christmas Day: Talk nerdy to me — “That’s no ornament” edition

    December 25, 2010

    Ceci n’est pas un ornament.

    Art of the cover: Talk nerdy to me — Hot date for the holiday

    December 21, 2010

    Not those Go-Gos.


    I’m gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek,
    And hug him under the mistletoe
    And if he’s very nice, I’ll feed him sugar spice
    And hang a Christmas stocking on his big left toe
    And when we both get up on Christmas morning
    I’ll kiss him on his chrome implanted head
    And take him in to say hi to Mum,
    and frighten Daddy out of his bed!

    The Go Gos. “I’m Spending Christmas With A Dalek.” Les Vandyke and Johnny Worth*. Oriole CB Records. 1964. Limited edition picture sleeve shown here.





    *The same person. Mr. Vandyke created the production credit to make the outfit seem bigger.

    Baby, it’s cold outside: Showdown! — The three faces of Miss October 1957, Colleen Farrington

    November 27, 2010


    Photographed by Peter Basch.

    La donna é mobile. Women are changeable. The write-up for this lovely and talented Playmate of the Month (and surprise celebrity mother) featured her in three different hair colors: blonde, brunette, and redheaded. Browse through the spread and pick your poison!


    Time was you could make a date with a brunette on Wednesday and, when you picked her up Saturday night, be certain a brunette would be waiting for you.

    (“La Donna È Mobile.” Playboy, October 1957.


    These days, thanks to quickie hair-dyes, your brunette may have metamorphosed into a redhead or a boysenberry blonde.

    (Ibid.)


    Click to enlarge any ol’ pic, any ol’ time, but I strongly recommend the one on the right up there. It’s great. She was a lovely ham in this spread.

    And just what in the name of easter baskets would a boysenberry blonde look like? Did the person who wrote that ever even see a boysenberry? They’re so deep purple that they’re virtually black. Strawberry blonde is a shade, yes. Boysenberry blonde? Not so much. Those two things do not work together.

    I find the pairing weird and it makes me curious to see such a thing in real life. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible outside of food coloring on a junior high girl. Back to the likely made-up story of quickie hair dyes and their metaphorical relationship with the vagaries of the vapid gender.


    This sign of the times was dramatized for us recently when photographer Peter Basch sent us a test shot of prospective Playmate Colleen Farrington, a New York TV model*.

    (Ibid.)

    *In fact, Colleen was at this time modeling on television and doing high fashion on runways. She worked frequently with designer Oleg Cassini, who would go on to permanent international fame in about three years as Jacqueline Kennedy’s favorite designer and the architect of her “look” in the Camelot heyday.


    My favorite shot of the spread.

    We found her a pert, well-turned brunette, and we wired Pete to go ahead by all means. When the first Playmate photos arrived, however, Colleen (having dyed her crowning glory for a TV show) was a blonde.

    (Ibid.)


    We liked her better the other way, so she obliged by becoming a brunette again and Pete, in a puckish mood, persuaded her to try a temporary head of red, too, in the interest of utter confusion.

    (Ibid.)


    On these pages, therefore, Colleen is available in three smart decorator colors. Which do you prefer?

    (Ibid.)

    Red, over here. I’ll put the poll at the bottom for easy voting.

    I’m curious to see how this one comes out. I think the red suits Ms. Farrington, who sometimes went by Ms. Prince, best, but then again, the pictures of her with red hair are the best done in my opinion, too, so that could be clouding my judgment. If she’d been blonde in the pink corset by the bar pictures, maybe my feelings would be different.

    As far as that series of this shoot goes, I’d spotted and saved it a few years ago, just saving it as Colleen Farrington 1, 2, 3, etc. When I started putting together pictures and bios for these winter posts, I was pumped to see I’d be able to include her.

    Then when I found her original spread, I was tickled by the prospect of a poll for which hair color was the most pleasing to readers. I’ve been meaning to return to the idea of regularly putting up Showdown!s and this was a perfect opportunity to get back in the swing. Not only that, but Ms. Farrington had one more surprise up her lovely sleeve —

    — She is the mother of unbelievably beautiful and talented actress Diane Lane.

    I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking — this amazing fact means that Colleen Farrington was, at one time, the mother-in-law of The Highlander. I know, right? There can be only one! Amazing!

    Just kidding. I realize not everyone’s life is built around tangentially relating the science fiction/fantasy films and television of their youth to everything they experience, and I’m trying to recover from that shock. I’m sure you were thinking how beautiful mother and daughter both are. And they are.

    Ms. Farrington married acting coach, partner to John Cassavetes, and unlikely cabbie Burt Lane and the couple had Diane in 1964. They divorced when the baby was only 13 months old and Ms. Lane lived sometimes with her mother and sometimes with her father until she was 15, when she emancipated herself from her father having already sadly written her mother, living in Georgia at the time, off following some unfortunate family fallouts. They had kind of a bumpy period that I don’t think it’s fair to get in to, but they are reconciled and all is well.

    So, back to the poll and how mobile we donnas are: Which of Colleen Farrington’s ‘do’s rocks your world?


    Girls of Summer: Jan Roberts, Miss August 1962

    October 6, 2010


    Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

    Miss August 1962 was the lovely and talented Jan Roberts, who began as a bunny at the Chicago Playboy Club. At the time, it was usually the case that a centerfold may be offered a job as a Club Bunny. Though it would later become common for Bunnies to progress to a gatefold as Playmate of the Month, Ms. Roberts was the first to do it.


    With this issue we present a neat twist on the customary Playmate-to-Bunny progression: she’s ingenuous Jan Roberts — the first (but undoubtedly not the last) Playmate to be discovered among the hutch honeys already decorating club premises. Like hundreds of beauties from every part of the U.S. and several foreign countries, Brooklyn-born, Toledo-bred Jan stormed Chicago specifically in hopes of landing a job at the Playboy Club.

    (“Bunny Hug.” Playboy, August 1962.)


    Her credentials (executive girl Friday for the Juhl Advertising Agency of Elkhart, Indiana, and honor graduate of a two-year medical technology course in the same city) were impressive enough to earn her a Bunny berth. Although the lissome — 39-23-35 — arrangement of her 120 compact pounds on a five-foot-five frame tends to belie it, Miss August prefers mental exercise to physical.

    (Ibid.)

    But she’s so pretty. What could she possibly need to think about?

    [Ms. Roberts] thrives on chess and bridge bouts, reads omnivorously (mostly books on mathematics and theology), dabbles in graphology, and earnestly paints landscapes which bear, she believes, “an unfortunate resemblance to my favorite foods — spaghetti and cheese blintzes.”

    (Ibid.)

    Hell, yeah, EAT SPAGHETTI!


    She can’t abide a sloppy pad, views beatniks with suspicious brown eyes, loves shoot-’em-up war flicks, feminine frills and Louis XVI antiques.

    (Ibid.)

    I like war movies too, but I wonder what was so objectionable about beatniks? Someone needs to dial Ned Flanders and make a lovely lonelyhearts hookup.



    Jan regards her current welcome-to-the-club duties with honest satisfaction. “I’m interested in a show business career,” she says. “As a Bunny, I’m already leading a show biz kind of life. It’s a big step on the way up.”

    (Ibid.)


    WHAT I LIKE IN MEN: Good manners, men who are good and kind to everyone, a sense of humor.
    WHAT I DISLIKE IN MEN: Wise guys.

    Ah, hahaha … wise guys. I have the cutest picture in my head, please come along with me on my mental image: Ms. Roberts in the trademark Club Bunny outfit, saying, “Oh, a wise guy, eh?” and windmilling her arm around to punch a Stooge. Chain-reaction hijinks ensue.

    As for her show biz ambitions, if that sought-after career progressed, it was under a different name. I tried Jan Roberts, Janice Roberts, and Janet Roberts on the imdb and came up empty. Then again, there is always the stage, yes? Or maybe her (by her account) cheese blintz-like and spaghetti-like landscape paintings took off. She has a sweet face and an endearingly semi-rabbity grill; I’d hope good things for her.

    The colorblocks in this picture are frigging awesome. Such a great and articulate, high-brow art critic I am, yes? Did I just blow your mind? Lovely. “What do you think of this piece by Basquiat?” “I think it’s frigging awesome!” Then I crush a beer can against my forehead. Sorry, college degree.

    Seriously, though — my favorite shot of the spread, because of the colors.

    This issue of Playboy featured a piece by Arthur C. Clarke titled, “World Without Distance.” Clarke is the author of seminal sci-fi novel 2001: A Space Odyssey; togther with Asimov and Robert Heinlein, he was known in science fiction circles as one of the Big Three. At the time his piece was published in this issue, Clarke was living in Sri Lanka (long story — another day). For some years, he had been contributing speculative articles and essays to various magazines about how developing technologies would effect lifestyles in the coming decades and centuries.

    In fact, he had a specific timeline for when he predicted certain innovations would come in to use, ending in the year 2100: as an example, he … for lack of a better word, “prophesied,” that a “global library” would be in use by 2005. People would be able to access this library from anywhere and have information at their fingertips. The articles and essays were eventually gathered into a book which Clarke titled Profiles of the Future, published in 1963. “World Without Distance” is one of those essays.

    There was also an article in the August 1962 Playboy called “The Prodigal Powers of Pot,” by Dan Wakefield. I came up goose-eggs in my search for the full text of Mr. Wakefield’s article, but HollywoodFiveO‘s review that it’s “an article so dry and boring we were unable to finish it even after huffing copious amounts of the demon weed,” is enough to discourage me from further research.

    However, it is a good opportunity for me to mention that two dear old friendohs, Jedi K and Marvelous Mr. C, will be performing in Reefer Madness in October, and if I’m not front and center, it means I’m frozen in carbonite. Actually, even if I’m frozen in carbonite, I might persuade Cinder and Milo to tote me along anyway.

    To celebrate, I’ll be sure to squeeze in a Reefer Madness Movie Moment for both the original scared-straight piece of propoganda and the recent film adaptation of the campy musical which my friends will be putting on. It’s an interesting time to stage it in my gret stet of Californny, what with a proposition on the ballot in our upcoming election to legalize marijuana.* I predict they’ll pull in a fun and hopefully big crowd.

    *It’s a square and unpopular opinion but, while I am neutral about marijuana as a recreational, albeit presently illegal, drug, I do not think its legalization will prove even at all to be the prompt financial panacea the yaysayers would have me believe, and that the difficulties of properly legislating its sale and distribution will ultimately prove more costly than the budget woes it proposes to solve; further, the proposition in its present form does not yet have a solid enough plan for implementing the legalization nor setting up a more specific system for local governments to go about filtering the monies to appropriate and needy civic channels to suit me. A really bad punster would say I find the idea “half-baked.” I merely say, take your time, rethink what it is that you want to accomplish, and come back to me with something I can consider solidly getting behind. My state has been propositioned to death. This is a big issue — give it the careful crafting it deserves if you want to succeed and be helpful.

    That was all in small print because a) I don’t like bringing politics up on the journal; and b) every time I timidly speak against the proposition, people seem to think I am opposed to the drug itself and shout me down with tireless explanations of how it’s not dangerous and people are way better drivers on pot than alcohol (this latter argument actually comes from my uncle, a former cop in Idaho who stuck in his oar on a recent family vacation when he was chagrined to learn that I was probably going to vote no on Prop 19).

    I don’t much care about the drug part. Seems to me like people are going to smoke whether it’s legal or not. That’s not my concern at all. What I care about is hasty-pudding legislation that I fear couldn’t pass a Pinto, let alone a majority vote in a state where the people who actually come to the polls are, statistically, retired persons who are, statistically, more conservative voters, and who would likely not vote “yes” on this proposition even if there were rock-solid figures showing that the tax revenue from the legalization of marijuana would go to blind limbless orphans, early-bird buffet discounts, and a television channel that shows all Matlock, all day. They’re still going to punch “no.” This legislation needs to be airtight and even though it’s trying, my feeling is it is not quite there.

    Even if it passes, things have become so persnickety and partisan here that it is bound to get held up for years in appeals and counter-measures. Don’t get me wrong, I have hopes for my government in the future, but all I see right now at federal and state levels is a morass in which nothing can get accomplished.


    Gesa Meiken photographed by Mario Casilli.

    Man! Not only is that all downer stuff, but I actually do hate talking about politics on the internet. I may come back later today and delete all that. Anyway, Arthur C. Clarke and a smiley blonde — even an apparent square like myself can’t vote no on that!

    Talk nerdy to me and Unlikely G: Happy bappy other cappy

    July 15, 2010


    Stop. G-face time. “Darmok.”

    Oh, my gosh, guys! I don’t know how it happened, but Patrick Stewart’s birthday slid right past me this week with no acknowledgement.


    “Time’s Arrow.” Superfly.

    All apologies, dude. Here is an unlikely G posting to mend the riff.

    It’s only when you’re going through screencaps that you realize, holy shit, Patrick Stewart looks g as fuck at all possible times. He is a serious G master and we can only learn from his flyness.


    “The Game.” That’s the one with Ashley Judd in it.

    Except possibly in that picture I just put up. It’s the only really, really horrible one. But he was merely expressing what the script called for, which was hokey mind control by a game. So you can see that really Patrick Stewart was still fulfilling his financial obligation as a performer on the show, which all good G’s know they got to use their skillz to pay the billz. Still G, see?


    “True Q” — a post is coming soon that is related to this episode.

    And yes, I was alerted to the oversight by @LeVar Burton‘s twitter feed. I also follow @TheRealNimoy and @WilliamShatner. Do I get the Biggest Dork award yet? I promise never to take it out of the package and decrease its value. (“I bent my wookiee.”)

    Flashback Friday — Movie Moment: Switchblade Sisters (1975), Patch edition

    July 2, 2010

    This entry was originally posted on December 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm. Captions have been added to some of the photos.

    There are many recommendable qualities about what is, to me, the title holder of all-time greatest cheeseball popcorn-flick, writer-director Jack Hill’s masterpiece of the exploitation genre, Switchblade Sisters (1975).

    For one thing, the four taglines are as follows:

  • They’d Rather Kill Their Man Than Lose Him
  • So easy to kill. So hard to love.
  • Mothers… lock up your sons. The Switchblade Sisters are coming!
  • Lace… Maggie… Patch… Donut… Bunny… The wildest girl gang that ever blasted the streets!
  • Dig the poster art (click any of them to blow it up).

    The film, which do not think this is the last entry in which I will talk about it, centers on girl gang The Dagger Debs — a sort of ladies auxiliary of their boyfriends’ gang, the Silver Daggers — who later change their name to The Jezebels (some bootlegs of the film still have this as the title) under the advice of their new co-leader.


    That bowling alley is rougher than the cantina on Mos Eisley.

    Name changes and the new co-leader do not sit well with what is for my money the number one reason with a bullet (or switchblade, if you prefer) to watch this movie:

    This flyass bitch right here.


    Monica Gayle as “Patch.”

    Her name is Patch. Former first lieutenant of the Dagger Debs, Patch came to kick ass and look hot as hell — and she’s all outta blue eyeliner.

    You will want to marry her when you watch her snarl and flip and hiss across the screen. It’s wonderful.

    Look at that willowy neck and perfectly snide expression. I cannot believe that Monica Gayle did not go on to ridiculous heights of stardom and fame, but at least it ups my chances of running in to her at the grocery.

    Quentin Tarantino put up the money through his Rolling Thunder productions company to oversee the recent remaster and distribution of this film in dvd format. He claims it is among his favorite 70’s movies, and QT devotees insist that shades of the plotline, composition, and even characters from Switchblade Sisters can be seen in some of Tarantino’s films.


    Note the composition, with organic materials framing the hard face and the strong horizontals in their look-space.

    I cannot imagine where they are getting this. Even if he has seen Switchblade Sisters, I doubt it has in any way influenced his own work.*


    What am I talking about?, they clearly have patches on different eyes — psh. Not alike at all.

    *Obviously that’s in jest … but actually I love the fact that he based the “look” of Elle Driver on Patch. Love it. And then he put Daryl Hannah in the role on top of it?! Winner winner, chicken dinner! It’s like that loquacious elfin genius makes movies purely so I don’t have to. My hat is forever off to him.

    addendum 7-2-10: It’s still true. I know it is becoming vogue for some reason to consider QT “tired” or “irrelevant” or “pretentious” or any one of a million labels that float about like baseless ice cubes in the tall glass of haterade Hollywood critics pass around, but I will love him, deeply and without measure or reservation, until the end of time. Call me.

    The Girls of Summer: Kelly Burke, Miss July 1966

    June 25, 2010


    Photographed by William Figge.

    Kelly prefers making most of her natatorial plunges in the neighbors’ back-yard pool. “Besides the pool, they own two darling dogs,” she explains. “One’s a $700 pedigreed toy poodle named Suzie; the other’s a mongrel puppy that they rescued from the local dog pound for only five dollars. He’s named Toy Tiger and, needless to say, I’m in love with the mutt.”

    (“Freckle-Face.” Playboy, June 1966.)

    Good choice!

    I’m an across-the-board mutt guy from Way Back: dogs, cats — men. Actually, I think I’m genuinely allergic to so-called “well-bred” dudes without debt. I’ve tried to date them and their leather car coats and confident wine-awareness makes my skin crawl. On the other hand, if you got a busted grill and drive a ’92 Honda Prelude with one broken headlight that won’t raise, know the difference between a single- and a double-wide, and front a ZZ Top cover band? I’m all yours.

    Actual example: my friend J-Mys once tried to set me up on a double date with her and her boyfriend and a mortgage broker Senor R knew from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Polly Wolly Doodle All Day. J-Mys and Senor R cut out early and I was stuck with the mortgage broker, who was clearly not in to me either but was still talking some kind of folklore about variable rates and baloney sauce that I was not at all listening to because I was watching Clue in my head due to my crushing boredom, when I got up to get another pint of beer.

    At the bar, this guy in a very dated No Fear t-shirt and battered, unironic John Deere ballcap saw I had actual folding money and asked me for change for the jukebox. We picked out a couple songs — I believe we went with Tom Waits, the Beatles, and “Thriller,” for novelty shits and giggles — and I told the boring mortgage broker that I was planning on going to the bathroom and going home.

    I insisted we split the bill because I felt a few compunctions of guilt for wasting the early part of his Friday evening, even if I had in no way lead him to think the night had any kind of sexytimes in its future. Then I made sure the broker actually left, slipped out of the bathroom, and bullshitted with the ballcap guy on the porch about Quantum Leap and camping ’til my beer was done. Went home much happier than I’d been an hour earlier. Sneaky I guess but so much better.

    As for the rest of the purple prose in that excerpt, I got hung up on “natatorial.” Really? Natatorial? Come on. That is some rich fertilizer right there. Talk about a needless fifty dollar word.

    natatorial: (adj.) of, characterized by, or adapted for swimming.

    Aww. Seems that some low-paid Playboy scribbler had a crush on his thesaurus.

    That shot is freaking awesome. Hats off to Mr. Figge. “Natatorial” photography at its best? The reflection, the symmetry, the attention to every tile of the composition (rule of thirds) having something interesting in it — awesome sauce. Bill Figge is the shit.


    As a medical buyer for one of California’s largest pharmaceutical cooperatives, Miss June has spent the past three years helping to supervise the selection of drugs destined to become shelf stock in hospitals and pharmacies throughout the Greater Glendale area.

    (Ibid.)


    Another stunning composition. The light-play is brilliant.

    “My job can be fairly cut and dried one minute,” says the 21-year-old brunette, “and then, in typical Ben Casey fashion, a nearby hospital phones in an emergency order and I’m suddenly off and running all over the place to find the required medicines.”

    (Ibid.)

    The Ben Casey to which Ms. Burke refers was a popular television series which ran from the early- to mid-1960’s. The Bing Crosby-produced medical drama was filmed at Desilu Studios and starred Vince Edwards (Space Raiders, Return to Horror High*) as the titular surgeon Dr. Benjamin Casey. The opening sequence is famous for its serious, ominous overtones: this deep voice says, “Man — woman — birth — death — infinity.” Heavy shit, right?

    *Yes, I deliberately picked the cheesiest, schlockiest, campiest of Edwards’ many legitimate credits to use as his two paranthetical citations, like those obscure B flicks would somehow make you say, “Oh, him!” I wanted to be funny. Vince Edwards is actually a talented and well-recognized actor who was very popular in his time: I am just a goofy rake.


    Kelly now sports her own 1965 Oldsmobile convertible, in which she commutes daily from her new bachelorette bungalow in suburban Sylmar.

    (Ibid.)

    Just five months after Ms. Burke’s gatefold appearance, the Loop Fire wiped out huge swaths of the boundary between her new hometown of Sylmar and the Angeles Forest. The fatally unpredictable Loop Fire is still covered in firefighting course textbooks today as an example of the necessity for developing strong communication strategy to contain a dry canyon fire affected by high winds.

    The Loop Fire began on November 1, 1966, at 5:19 am, on the edge of the Angeles National Forest. The El Cariso Interregional Fire Crew, which consisted of city and county firefighters, along with the El Cariso “Hot Shots,” a USDA-Forest crew of firefighters, sprang in to action to contain the blaze.

    Tragically, a flare-up jumped from the forest to a canyon at the outer edges of Sylmar and created a wall of flame around it. A group from the Hot Shots crew was trapped inside, cut off from the rest of the firemen in a narrow and dry canyon of steep rock walls which, despite having no natural accelerants to move the fire along, still increases the energy of the fire because it functions as a “natural chimney,” creating tremendous heat and pressure.

    Ten firefighters burned to death on site within minutes, while twelve others were injured, one critically.

    Helicopter Pilot Troy Cook began rescue operations within 10 minutes after the men were burned. The diamond shaped area was still surrounded by fire when Pilot Cook hovered and picked up the first survivor.

    (THE LOOP FIRE DISASTER – ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST – CALIFORNIA REGION: “A BRIEF OF THE REPORT OF THE GROUP ASSIGNED TO ANALYZE THE LOOP FIRE ACCIDENT.” US. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1967: Washington, D.C.)


    Pilot Roland Barton and his helicopter soon joined him and rescue operations continued with great courage and skill until all of the injured men were evacuated to the Los Angeles County Command Post on the Pacoima. From there the injured men were taken by auto to the hospital.

    (Ibid.)

    One of these injured men died at the LA County General Hospital November 6, but the rest survived thanks to the rescue efforts of the rest of the interregional team. A committee was formed by the Forest Service in conjunction with firefighting officials to use the tragic Loop Fire to improve fire prediction and containment methods, along with task force recommendations for the strengthening of safety and communication regulations.


    The highly localized decisions and actions which resulted in the tragedy points to the need of:
  • (1) more specific direction on safe practices in similar topography; (2) specific control of helicopter attack; (3) scheduling of more complete inter- and intra-crew communication; and (4) adequate scouting to keep sector bosses currently informed when working in critical and possibly critical situations.

    (Ibid.)


  • [We need to] make crystal clear in firefighting training that a “chimney,” “narrow box canyon,” or similar topographic feature is a Hazard Area even if devoid of fuel.

    (Ibid.)

  • The El Cariso Regional Park on Hubbard in Sylmar is a memorial to the aforementioned El Cariso “Hot Shots,” the local United States Department of Agriculture – Forestry boys who were killed during their battle to keep the flames from entering the town.

    That was kind of bummer stuff, so sorry, but an interesting slice of history. Wildfires in California are far more devastating than the earthquakes with which the rest of the country generally associates the state, and as a result, fire science in California is often at the cutting edge of research and methods for saving lives in the future.

    But back to sunny Ms. Burke.


    “I’ve become a real flower bug,” she reports, “since Mom and Dad bought a retail nursery in Yucaipa last year. Each time I visit them, I load up the back seat of the Olds with so much greenery before heading home that it winds up looking just like some sort of window box on wheels.”

    (Ibid.)


    That’s cute.

    Weekends, June’s bantam (5′) beauty heads for the sun-drenched beaches of Santa Monica, equipped with an over-sized straw hat and nylon sailing parka. “My freckles still show no matter what I try!”

    a) Yay for little lookers! Rock on with your pocket rocket self.
    b) Why do freckled people always desire to hide them? Freckles are so unbelievably cute. I don’t get it.
    c) It looks like she is Thumbelina laying in an orange peel. What the what is that stuff?


    PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Albert Einstein, Dr. John Rock and Dr. Francis Kelsey, beause of their outstanding medical contributions.

    MY IDEAL EVENING: Have cocktails and dinner, take in a movie, and then have a pizza.

    (Playmate data sheet.)

    Right on to Einstein, pizza, mutts, and having a serious job while attending Cal Poly Pomona during her appearance as a Playmate. Ms. Burke is the exception and not the rule of pretentious brandy-snifter marlarkey we went over earlier this week. Fun final fact: her sister-in-law, Allison Parks, was the 1966 Playmate of the Year.

    Oh, and I guess a really fun final fact is that Ms. Burke was pregnant during this shoot. BOMBSHELL! Maybe that is why she is so adorably radiant. As you probably noticed, it’s another Cowboy Kate-influenced cover, I assume to reflect the “Girls of Texas” story. R.I.P., Sam Haskins.

    William Blake Month: “The Fly”

    June 22, 2010

    Late post, am I right? I’ve been invovled in some deep bookfoolery which I will explain below. The heading of each of the chapters in a book I read last night/today is followed by a quote, and one such quote was from this poem of Blake’s.


    via

    Little Fly,
    Thy summer’s play
    My thoughtless hand
    Has brushed away.

    Am not I
    A fly like thee?
    Or art not thou
    A man like me?


    For I dance
    And drink, and sing,
    Till some blind hand
    Shall brush my wing.

    If thought is life
    And strength and breath
    And the want
    Of thought is death;


    via

    Then am I
    A happy fly,
    If I live,
    Or if I die.

    (William Blake, “The Fly.”)

    So — the lateness in the day. Yes. Sorry, but I am not even firing on four let alone six cyllinders today. See, I went against all my usual instincts and quickly finished my yearly series last night wayyy ahead of time and I refuse to let that happen with my other obligations, so when I dropped the last in the series to the floor, I dug in to my pile and instead of snatching up The Tommyknockers (absolutely not touching it until July 2nd or 3rd or I will not be where I need to be for the 4th and I cannot afford any more Bad Days), I started this book my cousin Mary loaned me called The Descent.

    I was initially skeptical and, at points, flirting with grogginess from the overabundance of sleep-inducing substances I pour down my throat every night in an effort to quiet the seven-headed rock dragon of my insomnia which makes the Balrog look like a Pound Puppy, but it was amazing shit, full of caves and sci-fi creatures and anthropology and linguistics and religious themes and Hell and mountaineers and Jesuits and everything else that rings my bell, and before I knew it I was completely sucked in to the throat of it. I powered through the layers of tylenol pm, Miller, and a slug of Ny-Quil I’d taken earlier, ignoring my sandy eyelids because I Couldn’t Stop Reading, and, having finally shook off any need for sleep and finished the last sentence and closed the book thoughtfully at around nine this morning, I can confidently say I’m a believer.


    via

    I slid it under my bed and lay reflecting on what I’d read for a few minutes, because I felt like there had been some unresolved plot points, then I suddenly did this herky jerky twitch and thought, “How many standalone science fiction novels are that long? Plus … it was set in ’99, but the cover was new. No dog-eared pages. Mary would’ve loaned it to me years ago if she hadn’t just recently bought and read it. It’s a new book.” Reprint. Why?


    via

    Totally excited by this chain of thought, I flipped my ass in the air, dove under my bed and grabbed the book back out of my piles and checked the front. HELL YES: among the author’s other books listed by the publisher is one titled The Ascent, which I think it is fair to conjecture can only be a sequel, so now that I’ve finished all the housework and cooking I’d planned previously to do in the hours of the morning I’d spent reading, I’m going to cruise out to the used book store by my house and see about scaring that bitch up for tonight — and see if there are more. Keep you posted. Don’t worry about the insomnia thing: I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.

    Daily Batman: Nolite te bastardes carborundum repeat by way of bookfoolery

    June 13, 2010

    Originally posted on October 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm.

    Attaboy. Roll just as fly as you please and fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.


    by Eliza Gauger.

    Sorry for the re-tread on a Sunday and not on a Flashback Friday or Take-two Tuesday, but I’m nearly through my major June series which I have done every summer for nine years because of that there ol’ deathiversary due to my crushing unbearable survivor’s guilt and repressed rage, then snap! it’s almost time for my much-more-voluntary-and-less-moody yearly re-read of The Handmaid’s Tale, and then over Fourth Of July I do The Tommyknockers. I must reach the part where Ruthie McCausland blows up the clock tower on Independence Day on the Fourth of July in my own time for true Summer synchonicity to occur, and the times I haven’t done I’ve felt all kinds of crawly about it, so why invite trouble? Then I will wind things down with the Doomsday Book, which, entering my life in 2004, is a comparatively recent addition to my duties.


    Librarian-type girls are hot. I’m saying that I’m hot.

    Also somewhere in there I’m to become at least glancingly conversant with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s work on grief because my aunt said it’s time we try facing up to how we feel Ways About Things and try to let go. I’m all like, “Okay! if you think that’s best,” but really I mean, “WE’LL SEE,” or even, “NO.”

    When I’ve attended to all my obligations, which should be done in about a month, THEN I am hoping to get started on this awesome book the Gentleman is loaning me about Abraham Lincoln hunting vampires, which is appropriate because as we all well know vampires suck and werewolves are going to the dogs.


    See? Hot! The Bookworm knows. (Another retread; you may remember this picture from the “Enter the Bookworm” post a bit back.)

    Christo brought the vampire hunter book down for me the night I went to the house to watch the finale of Lost with Gorgeous George, but I declined, telling him to loan it to someone else because I knew I’d be tied up for a while. But soon! I’ll let you know how it is!

    Mean Girls Monday: Talk nerdy to me, another Star Trek edition, by way of introducing Kevmo’s awesome new “Project: NerdTrek” blog

    May 17, 2010

    My grandmother is having a Bad Day so while she’s taking a nap I’m going to throw some stuff up really quick and then when she’s awake again, I’m afraid I will be definitely tied up.

    A dear old friendoh who is a funny, clever, and all-around smashing good family man has started an intriguing and fun new blog called Project: NerdTrek over on the blogger. Kevin’s plan is to watch all the various Star Trek franchise viewing material in stardate order, hopefully squeezing in an episode a day. I look forward to keeping up with him and encourage my fellow nerds to follow, too! (I have also linked to him in the new and improved categorized blogroll on the right of the page.)

    Oh, but he would, Mr. Spock.

    Check Kevmo’s stuff out, and, in the meantime, please send vibes that my grandmother’s mind will — since I think it cannot at this point fully rethread itself — at least be set at ease by some well-earned rest.

    Talk nerdy to me: LeVar Burton “The science of peace” edition

    April 25, 2010

    I have mentioned before that I follow me the shit out of some LeVar Burton on the twitter (for the record, the Red Cross “Haiti” texting thing is still on like Khan so think about donating, because the need is still very strong, especially as summer comes on and people have gradually stopped donating money needed very badly to keep plenty of clean, purified water around and sanitized conditions for the food getting to refugees, for example: to displaced children — a diptheria epidemic happening now among all those orphaned kids would basically be about the most disastrous and heartbreaking thing I can even think of, you know?).


    From LeVar Burton’s twitpic account. With the Shat-man. Look at those OG’s! Super-cute!

    I have these pictures up mainly to get your attention. It is obvious, accepted, manifest fact that LeVar Burton is one of the coolest and best human beings to walk the earth. Duh. Would you like to be as basically all-around amazing and centered and loving and a vessel of karmic groove in this universe Just Like Him? Then let’s talk about LeVar’s involvement with the extremely cool documentary The Science of Peace, dudes!

    What if …
  • …science discovered a unified field of consciousness which affected the way people think and behave?
  • …we could find a way to consciously impact this field with our thoughts and feelings?
  • …a global media event would succesfully enroll millions of people to participate in an unprecedented world peace experiment?

    (official site)


  • with the amazing STEVIE WONDER!!

    Great minds from Tesla to Kant to Rosseau to Jung have believed in this tantalizing possibility of reaching a positive meta-energy which just might happen to be God’s will for mankind, so don’t dismiss it straight out of hand as tree-hugging hippie crap! There is some real Science to this, guys.

    Hosted by LeVar Burton, The Science of Peace features pioneering physicists, biologists, and philosophers who are established in the emerging new field of Peace Science.

    The film effectively illustrates how each person, when bringing peace in to his or her own life, becomes an instrument for global peace.

    He is also the executive producer. Putting this post together lead meto some really neato-terrific and amazing sources.


    Yes.

    I hope to share more about Peace Studies soon but here is the essential lowdown on relative newcomer Peace Science, which is the subject of the documentary: it is a hard-science effort to unify the threads of ideas that run through the incredibly important social sciences movement of Peace Studies. The Peace Science Society has an explanation of the various philosophies and social sciences that comprise the touchstones of the “argument” for peace studies at Penn State, and it is always well-spent time to give the latest articles in The Acorn a spin. (The Acorn is the official journal of the Gandhi-King society. If you don’t feel like subscribing, it’s on ProjectMUSE and the JSTOR.)


    Great picture with Nichelle Nichols. Remember on Dr. King’s Day when she came up? In case you forgot, the factoid that was related then was how she was thinking of leaving the TOS cast and Dr. King told her to stay because Lt. Uhura was a wonderful role model for people of color, especially women. Soooo great.

    Anyway, check the documentary’s official site out and show some love by visiting the “How You Can Help” section — it’s too late to participate in the documented experiment, but you can still donate and help subside costs for production, travel, distribution, etc. Cool beans!

    Talk nerdy to me: Inaugural edition feat. Legos, Stormtroopers’ Picnic, and Sesame Street

    April 15, 2010

    “1, 2, 3 — 4, 5, 6 — 7, 8, 9 — 10, 11, 12
    Stormtroopers came to the Stormtroopers’ picnic…”


    Photograph by Mark, aka smokebelch on the flickr.

    The counting song “Ladybugs’ Picnic” was written and recorded in 1971 for the Childrens’ Television Workshop masterpiece Sesame Street. It was written by Bud Luckey with lyrics by Dan Hadley, and sung for the show by Muppeteers Richard Hunt (R.I.P., wonderful you) and Jerry Nelson. The first episode in which it aired was marked 0416 and appeared as Season 4, Episode 12. Original airdate December 11, 1972.

    Though most of the Sesame Street content was usually filmed/animated at the same time in good-sized chunks in various studios after long brainstorming and writing sessions, individual segments could often languish on the shelf for awhile, until just the right spot in the exactly perfect episode was found for them. Such is the case in the gap between the writing of “Ladybugs’ Picnic” by Luckey and Hadley, its recording with vocal track by Jerry and Richard — you know them better as Waldorf and Statler, among the many characters they voice — and its eventual appearance almost two years later on the show.

    I have much more to say about wonderful Richard Hunt a different day. That’s one that I won’t be forgetting.

    March Madness: Marian Stafford, Miss March 1956

    March 17, 2010

    The lovely and talented Marian Stafford, Playboy‘s Miss March 1956, is adorable and also full of all kinds of noteworthiness.


    Photographed by Ruth Sondak.

    First, Ms. Stafford was the first gatefold model to get a three page pull-out centerfold: the real deal, the whole fold-out enchilada. This has obviously become a trademark of not just Playboy but a widely-copied staple of the porn mag world as a whole. Way to go, twinkie!

    Unusually, as you can see from the above caption, the lead credited photographer of Ms. Stafford’s shoot was a woman. Ruth Sondak seems to have been an active New York photographer on whom I am having trouble finding complete biographical data.

    I found this link to an interview about Greenwich Village anti-Vietnam War protesters, which had circa-70’s pictures credited as being taken by Ruth accompanying the article, and a 1993 NYT obit that included a picture of a famous educator that was photographed by Ruth in New York in 1972. The links to the photos in both the obit and the war-resisters’ page were no longer active, so I can’t even say I have seen other pictures by her other than these of Ms. Stafford. That’s about all I got on that angle so far. I’ll keep digging.

    Okay, so you may be wondering why Ms. Stafford is ripping up a TV Guide in the two color shots of this spread. It’s not a Sinead O’Connor protest or anything — Ms. Stafford was first “discovered” on the boob-tube in the audience of a show, and became a main stage attraction herself not long after.


    This month’s Playmate is a little girl with big television aspirations. Her name is Marian Stafford and she packs a lot of woman into 5’3″. She wants to be an actress, but so far most of her TV experience has been confined to smiling prettily in commercials for products like Tintair, Pall Mall and Jantzen; she has helped advertise Revlon on The $64,000 Question and RCA Victor on the video version of Our Town. She has had a walk-on in a Kraft Theater production and small speaking parts in two Robert Montgomery shows. (“Playboy’s TV Playmate,” Playboy, March 1956.)


    But her most unique television experience is as a human test pattern for Max Leibman spectaculars, where she spends hours before NBC color cameras during rehearsals and is never seen by the audience. (Ibid.)

    Ms. Stafford did make it back in front of cameras, regularly appearing on shows such as The $64,000 Question and Treasure Hunt. Her adorable pretty-princess looks and sweet nature also scored her the part of Mistress of Ceremonies on the 11-episode children’s story hour show The Big Fun Carnival in 1957. Get it, girl!

    One of the coolest parts of this issue was a short story by Ray Bradbury titled “The First Night of Lent,” about a good-natured and laconic Irish driver named Nick whom a writer employs while he is working on a screenplay in Dublin. The driver gives up drinking for Lent and becomes a reckless maniac, incapable of sorting through the richness of life’s sensory overload and focusing on one thing at a time: he needs alcohol to make it through the day, because the Irish are such finely tuned, sensitive beings that sobriety is an innavigable misery to them. At the end, the screenplay writer gives Nick money and begs him to start drinking again. It’s a mainly classist and racist but still kind of fun story, and Ray Bradbury is my all-time favorite sci-fi writer of all time* so I let him off the hook, cultural pride notwithstanding.



    excerpt from the googlebooks. give it a spin, dudes, and please consider writing to your congressmen urging them to protect free lit on the net! LIBRARIES FOREVER!

    Marian Stafford is one of the few playmates to model both as the gatefold and cover girls. Do you get the cover idea? The bunny is a producer watching her do her NBC color-test job. Super-cute. Again — get it, girl!



    *Nickel in the mail to the first person who gets the “all-time-favorite of all time” movie line reference.

    Take-Two Tuesday — Believe the Impossible

    March 16, 2010

    Originally posted September 10, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    The Gentleman just linked me to this. The Butterfly Nebula as imaged by the repaired Hubble, brief article.


    “We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” –Ray Bradbury

    Believe it. We are extraordinary. How can I focus on my tiny, insignificant problems and feel beat down when I am moving through this beautiful, miraculous universe? I will try to stop staring at the ground and scuffing my feet when I could be gazing at the stars. Thanks for the perspective, Christo!