Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On skulls

Two years ago I happened to come upon an old steamer trunk that I transformed into my first natural history cabinet. The idea of displaying curiosities of the past have always intrigued me since I first strolled into a museum at an early age.

All of the skulls that I have on display have either been gifts from friends or were found while hiking such as the cow skull and the bear skull. The ram skull the only prepared skull that was not naturally cleaned in my collection.

The bleaching of the sun and weathering by the elements has definitely made some of the skulls fairly brittle. A few other random long bones, ribs, and assorted pieces and fragments dot the case, while other small oddities I felt appropriate for the cabinet such as some found fossils, feathers, pelts, and shells.
However, the problem with having skulls in my house is the possibility of being thought of as a goth kid.
And with that I bid you goodnight.
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Scary Monkey Image of the Day

Today I present another gleaning from my Wildlife Safari cards, which, by some odd coincidence reminds me of the Weight Watcher recipe cards of the 70s. I guess the only difference between the two is the amount of mackerel presented. But once again, these tangential thoughts really don't assist in the world of observation and ephemeral thoughts.

Let's just face it, some monkeys are just damned scary. While others, such as those featured in my favorite series of movies of all time Planet of the Apes, present benign civilized apes. The De Brazza's Monkey is evil. The way it eats citrus is evil. You can tell it is thinking, "I am going to hide your car keys...BWA-HAHAHA." Or perhaps it is pondering how it is going to smuggle your first born child to evil midgets. Believe me it can happen.

Do you remember the movie Monkey Shine? Plot is quite simple a paraplegic gets a helper monkey, not a De Brazza's monkey, that torments him and tries to kill him. Truly a classic of 80s cinema and one of those hallmarks of the USA channel when it would play very few films that didn't involve animals gone awry. Anyway, the trailer for the film featured the classic wind-up toy monkey with the cymbals and evil grim clanging away in a chaotic rhythm of terror. Yes...TERROR. I am pretty they modelled that toy on this monkey.

One small side note. Notice the udder in the upper right hand corner of the card? It doesn't mean that you can milk these little monkeys to make cheese or other simian dairy products. It means these beasts can be tamed or at least domesticated. The fact that it can eat a piece of citrus means that it tamed. Bet you didn't infer that from this Wildlife Safari card, now did you?
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Remember these?

Yep, I was a sucker to advertising as with many other children who were raised by the television. My parents ordered the Wildlife Safari cards for me and I loved every frickin one of them. And twenty years later, they still bring me amusement.

Most certainly a great majority of the animals featured are either long extinct or limited to two or three zoo specimens, but they will live forever in a indexed library in my heart...and a clunker of a green box.

If it weren't for Wildlife Safari we would have never known about the Cock of the Rock. This bird is much more popular than closely related species such as the Douche-on-a-Roost, the Dick-in-a-Brick, or the Fuckhead from Beaverton. And this bird doesn't need to pop a collar to be flamboyant and colorful to impress other birds. As the information on the back of the card indicates, it dances. The later of the lesser known species has been known to talk excessively while using the strange call of "Sup-Bro-Hey-Baby," in a repeated pattern which tends to dull the senses of many or cause convulsions depending on intellectual standing.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quackery: Less fun that Oxycodone...more fun than Obstinate Constipation

I love medical history! And more importantly I love medical fads, frauds, and oddities. This little pamphlet is kind of wonderful in that weird world of testimonials for an odd oxygen tank contraption that cured all sorts of ailments from scoliosis to tubercolosis.
Even early on, sexiness sold products. The descreet Oxydonor is attached to the young model's leg. How the thing works...I haven't the foggiest idea.
The contraption itself, or at least the "Victory" model looks like something out of Ghostbusters. If it works the way I seemed to understand it works from the pamphlet, it generates oxygen, and then by some form of difusion pumps it into the human body. A few problems with this process that I can identify. Generating oxygen is somewhat complex unless you can set up some type of hydrolysis processes to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Then you end up with two highly combustible gasses.

But who cares if the science behind the device is unsound. People bought it and believed in the Oxydonor as noted by the various testimonials. For example, this machine cures Obstinate Constipation...and Quinsy, also known as Peritonsillar absces.

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A while ago I posted about my obsession with tiny objects and Japanese neuroticism, which by proxy means I have some innate genetic trend toward neuroticism and obsession toward the perfected small object.

But I digress. Today I wanted to present the scale of these replica objects which were not accurately presented in my first pictures.


A friend lent me her cigarettes for this example. But presented is a normal size cigarette and next to it are the facimile pack and the little ash tray holds a tiny smoke. This is definitely doll size, or perhaps child size, or maybe the perfect size for elves, pixies, or scary gnomes.

The others are small models of traditional foods. Soba, various fish, and other goodies of the Japanese kictchen.


When I was a kid, I tried to make my own miniuates out of Fimo clay. However, the end results were far from these pristine examples. I can only fault my nine-year-old hands' lack of dexterity and the half-caucasian portion of my genetic code for not allowing perfect cuteness to be obtained.

But of course this brings us to another discussion I had with a few friends about what will cigarettes be called when the new tobacco legislation goes into effect. As a former smoker, I was fond of the Camel Light brand of cigarette. However, the term "light" will go the way of the smoking public and die off soon. So what shall we call it?

One friend stated, "Lights should be called 'Child-size.'"
I proposed calling light cigarettes, "Extra Sparkly."
But soon realizing our trend towards happy terms would be overshadowed by the "death and doom" approach to tobacco marketing. We had to change tactics.

Light cigarettes shall be known as Malignant Carcinoma with a left lung preference while Full flavor will be known a Carcinoma with Cardiac Embolism.

Case Closed.
Another stated that cartons should now be referred to as "Family Packs."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ABC it's easy as RIP

Okay, so we have all heard it on the news today, on the radio, on the internet, and probably over the water cooler.

Eleven years ago today Jacques Cousteau died. It was such a loss. And of course we forgot about it. No one bothers to do anything to remember or honor his death. No one going on special dives with the fishes in the Great Barrier Reef.

Alas, we are at a loss.

Oh and some pop singer died too. I think he looked like the guy in the picture below. But I am not quite certain. I haven't had a television for close to ten years and my vehicle doesn't have a radio so I feel somewhat cut off from the world at times. I feel like I might be sleeping in an oxygen tank or on some kind of never-never land with a bunch of lost children at times.

Oh well.

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Farewell Michael Jackson, You were Bad, and we knew it. You were a smooth criminal as well. A speed demon too. You held us like the River Jordan and looked at us like the man in the mirror...

May the you find peace from the tabloids and from asshole hecklers like me who post tasteless satire such as this poking fun at your long and cut-so-short career.

The Working Week...

Normally I refrain from entering my realm of clutter while I play research assistant, but today, I have decided to play hooky and post a few simple statements.

  1. Talking with a mouth full of food is disgusting and rude.
  2. Blind People + Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation = The best absurdist comedy ever
  3. In a sound proof booth, no one can hear you scream...that is unless the intercom is turned on and then it is kind of embarrassing.

Other than that. There really isn't much to say.

But I guess I can leave you with a question that has bothered me for ages since I first saw this sign on the receptionists desk. Where has Shorty been?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes, Intriguing...

I don't know if I will ever use this cook book. Well, it's really more of a pamphlet than a book, but none the less, it does contain some wonderful recipes for all of the ground meet desires one could ever want.

For example, take a couple of the ones listed below. How does Veal-Oyster Loaf sound to you? I love veal. I love oysters. I don't necessarily love them ground to a mashy pulp squeezed into a form and cooked together. But who knows? It could be exquisite. If not...dare I say, intriguing? 

Also one must note the recipe for Jellied Veal Loaf. Nothing says dining pleasure like jellied deer meat. In a loaf. One must consider that aspic was a gastronomic feat of its day. To the clear meat gelatin, which had to be clear enough to read news print through to be considered perfect, one had to use precision with temperature and timing in the cooking process, otherwise the process would cloud the end product and it would be fouled. Yet, I do not know whether this "jelly" on my veal will quite match well. 
So let's move onto another lost curiosity of past kitchens, mincemeat. Dried fruit and animal fat along with an assortment of other odds and ends baked into pies and other goodies. I don't think people quite realize what all goes into mincemeat. So for all who might have been curious, the recipe is below.

And if you ever wanted if you ever wanted to make them, I present Mincemeat Cupcakes!  

Intriguing is a word that I tend to associate with spy novels, lurid tales of foreign lands, and exposes about historical figures. However, it is not a word that I like to think of when I handle ground meat. Perhaps this cookbook/pamphlet would be wore delectable if such verbiage as tasty, exciting, satisfying, or any other stomach pleasing descriptor were used.

Ah, those good old days when we all had meat grinders and all of our butchers were named Al.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Could be worse...

This catalogue from 1923 is a wonderful collection of oddities. The thing that surprises me about the majority of the surgical instruments is that they have not changed in the past century. However, the ones below are definitely dated.

Therapeutic corsets are not worn very often. Occasionally scoliosis patients will wear them as children, but the leather straps, canvas, and buckle look definitely went away and dwells in the realm of the whip and ball-gag set. 
I am particularly fond of the humane restrain section, another one that would amuse many fetishist. The boards-on-a-bed contraption is quite frightening for being humane. The straight-jacket is pretty standard, but the other things seem, well, disturbing. 
And well, this final image just seems funny. To this day, they have special hosiery for various purposes. But I don't think most of the items listed are still used. Who knows though? Well, actually medical professionals would know, but I am not one of those yet. I am just a lowly research assistant and student who humors himself with medical texts. 
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Thus Far...

I have managed to offend Vegans, Players of Tetris, and Speakers of Esperanto.

Can I have a HECK YEAH!

Anyway, let me note:

Esperanto: The language has only a thousand or so native speakers, the language was invented in 1891, consider it a crazy fad.

Vegans: you aren't getting the proteins you need, consider it a crazy fad.

Tetris: Video games + people who reference said video game for self-help purposes= bad bad bad, consider a crazy fad.

Anyway, The Wonderful World of Clutter will be sure to offend more and more people down the road. But be sure to note, the author does so with kindness. He even bares his soul in silly ways, poking fun at himself by showing what a stupid child he was. A stupid child who couldn't draw and/or write. The author was a stupid ugly baby. Ugly. Ugly. Stupid ugly baby.

So there.

And I will leave you with a little picture of someone doing target shooting in Montana.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forgotten texts

The following index cards contain the forgotten alphabet of George Bernard Shaw. While Shaw was primarily known as a playwrite and author, he was also a linguist. One of his favorite commentaries was how ridiculous the English language was, at least in its written form. While other phonetic scripts have been created, Shaw put out an open challenge to the public for a new written alphabet to replace the Phonecian alphabet we have become accostumed to. 

The following are examples of end result of the challenge. One of his plays, Androcles and the Lion, was published both in traditional English text and in the new alphabet.
Needless to say, the Shavian language never quite took off. Some people still grasp onto it like those who try to speak Esperanto. 
If it had succeeded, who knows what would have come of our typewriters and keyboards? But it didn't. So there. Now we are left with odd curiousities of forgotten scripts and texts.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Be Worried...

The other great thing about The Illustrated Sex Atlas are the wonderful pictures.

The following are about diseases, specifically "Sex Diseases." What humors me about the first pictures is that the previous owner of the book drew a picture of a crab on the page since it was an omision from the original text.
It also amuses me that that the woman is depicted nude in the illustration of syphilis while the man with gonorrhea is pictured wearing shorts. Go figure.


As for the scary syringe thing. I have no idea. Like I said. Be worried. Be very, very worried.
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Kind of like Quantum Mechanics but Different...

Very different.

I guess this image is one of those you have to see to believe.  The book, The Illustrated Sex Atlas is one of the early health education books filled with late-fifties early sixties era health illustrations. Most of them are benign and informative. But the one above,  simply titled "Coital Mechanics" is hilarious. Basically it presents the copulatory act as if done by simple machines, i.e., pistons, belts, gears, light bulbs, wires, and a few lubricants to keep the machines working. 

And while this might seem like some fetishists delight, this was designed as a teaching tool. 
Unfortunately, it seems more like Rosey, the robot maid from the Jetsons, meeting a Dalek from Dr. Who in a rent-by-the-hour hotel on 82nd Avenue. 

What humors me even more about this, is that someone more that likely built a working model of this picture. That person, I imagine, spent a lot of time in either a basement or garage, smoking cigarettes thinking to himself, "This is mighty satisfying work...just wait until I show the science club."

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Open Letter to Mr. Geoff Johns

Dear Mr. Johns,
I want to thank you again for all of your work at DC Comics over the past few years. I was saddened to hear that you would be moving on from the Justice Society of America, but I must say, I was quite pleased with the way you left the stories and I thought that the Stargirl story concluding your run was a hallmark of perfection.
Like many fans, I am eagerly anticipating your upcoming Blackest Night story in the Green Lantern books. I do wish that you had responded to my previous letter. I really thought that pitch about color-themed characters would tie into the emotional spectrum very fittingly. However, I realized I made a grievous omission from the group of color-coded-criminals, Paintball! One of your very one creations, I might add! I apologize for this error and hope that you will include him in the crusade against the Black Lanterns and their campaign of doom.
I also wanted to make a request as to the various characters to receive Black Lantern rings. I think it would be great to give some of Luthor's Everyman Project victims back their powers as Black Lanterns. We never got a chance to see E.S. Pete in action, nor did we get to see Dyna-Mole kick butt. But most importantly, the most talked about character of 52 week 24 was not Bulleteer, Ambush Bug, or Firestorm. It was Poledancer. Alas her superhero career was limited to the one panel before she was killed by robot-zombie-pirates which is a sad fate because both zombies and pirates are over-played tropes.

We already say that Black Bison will come back as a Black Lantern, so why not let some of the more obscure people fight as well.

Thank you and kind regards,


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The Next Big Thing

I have a confession to make. I am tired of Zombies. Zombie movies, zombie proms, zombie comic books, zombie adaptations of classic literature and many other assorted zombie items and crap. I am equally tired of vampires. Mormon vampires, chaste vampires, conflicted vampires, vampires that fight for the side of good, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I am also sick of Pirates. Pirate Bars, pirate mini-golf, Somali Pirates, and iron pyrite. And let's not forget Ninjas. So tired of them, I will not even list what I am tired of about them.

Why I am I so tired of Zombies, Pirates, Vampires, and Ninjas? Because they are everywhere! You can't throw a sharp object without wounding some kid dressed up as one of these individuals. They have taken the fear out of these once ominous entities and tamed them. And now Zombies are plush toys, Pirates are on national news, Vampires are morality films for kids, and Ninjas are being rapped about by Vanilla Ice.

What is needed is a new trend to scare America. For a while it was giant monsters, at other times disasters, aliens, and immigrants. Communism is not nearly as frightening as everyone thought it was decades ago. And I guess a horror film about socialized health care would work in the B-movie world of Ed Wood, but we really wouldn't talk about it around the water-cooler these days. Something that won't be mimicked for a few years. 

So what might be scary for the new today?

The following is my list of not really that scary things that are often featured in movies:
Nuclear War

Meat Packing Plants
Men with Chain Saws
Plagues, Illnesses, Tom Cruise, Diseases, and/or Open Sores
Sea Creatures
Machines Turned Evil and/or Technology Corrupted

Here is my list of things that might potentially work as truly scary things that can be the next national craze/fad that people can dress up as and throw theme parties for.:
Panda Bears with Secret Agendas
Promise Keepers
College Frat Boys with Ill Intentions
Droopy Faced Cowboys
DMV Employees

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Remember the 80s?

There is something to say about the the 1980s. I am not certain if the "Atari Touch Me" is one of the better things to say about it. Perhaps while someone was having a cocaine fueled game of Pac-Man, they decided that this would be a great idea. And perhaps that same person thought it would be an even better  to market "Touch Me" to children.
I guess it is better than most any Nagel print...or any Duran Duran album that might be associated with the previously stated artist.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Yard Sale Fun

So here are the posters for my friend's garage sale. Can you tell that I was in charge of making them? Only a few of the spelling mistakes were intentional. The way we figured it, if they were goofy and caught people's attention, then then it would draw more potential shoppers.
And yes, there was karaoke.

My observation from the creating the first poster--spelling Michigan is kind of like spelling banana. Once you start, you kind of can't stop.  Also, no matter what, Connie Chung will always be funny to me.

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