Monday, August 31, 2009

I wish I had thought of this...

Do you remember the Muppets? What about Dinner...Do you remember Dinner? Imagine combining the two into a truly amazing mealtime entertainment. 

Think dinner theater...but different. And less likely to give you food poisoning. My buddy Tack created this video out of boredom while working at his job as a caterer. 

Remember the band the Meat Puppets? This is sooooooo much cooler than them. And also less likely to give you food poisoning. 

Good thing Batman is dead...

Galactus, as perceived by alien races. Panel f...Image via Wikipedia
Because right now, the idea of the The Little Mermaid and the Incredible Hulk snogging would probably make him beg for Dr. Hurt to take him to hell.

And, comic book geeks around the world are wondering what Disney's purchase of Marvel Comics and all of its properties will mean,  I just want to see Galactus devour the last ten years of Disney Movie history. That would just be awesome.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Field Trip: Toy Museum

Tucked away in a very unassuming windowless building in the semi-industrial area of Southeast Portland is perhaps one of the more fascinating museums in this city. This famed toy museum has been spoken about for many years but very few individuals have taken the time to visit the location. Sometimes they just have trouble finding it.

But if they do manage to find this location, they are going to be amazed by a world class collection of toys from the late 1800s to the 1950s. Over the next few days, as I complete a tour of museums, I will post some more pictures of the Kidd's Toy Museum's collection to provide a broader scope of what they hold.

From my understanding, the owner of the collection was a property owner in the neighborhood and a avid fan of tin toys and old lead banks. By far, their collection of animated banks has to be one of the largest in the country. Along with these there are other odd artifacts from the railroad history of the Northwest, naval history of Oregon, toy trains, doll houses, locks, dolls, toy soldiers, and other assorted memorabilia of childhood before plastic.

Of the more unusual objects in the collection were these two wind-up toy bears. At least the box says they are bears. I am not convinced though. These mechanical toy beasts really look more like a cross between between a rat, yeti, and Weird Uncle Martin who refuses to shave but and listens to religious radio all day.

The directions are particularly ominous. Remember the instructions for the taking care of a pet mogwai in Gremlins? It is kind of like that, except even more dangerous, because we don't have a movie to tell us what these mechanical beast will turn into if their legs are touched or something is put in their mouth. God forbid if you give it food after midnight...

Just look at those teeth and think of how many porcelain dolls it could eat in one sitting...

With our next photo set, we will look at the racist banking institution through the lens of toys. Educational and playful. Should be fun!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goal Posting...

Arranging these old mail-away advertisements must have been a chore. How do you convince someone that upholstering is as important as learning how to win what you want. Well, we all know that upholstery is much more important. Because, well anyone can win. But few people when they win can pad their own asses.

I think the final two ads here are the most funny and disturbing. For example, for $1.95 you can learn how to get along in this world. I don' t know if I would like to be in the illustration they provide. If success means being faceless backlit on a black background, I think I can pass. I will take the upholstery course instead.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Ah, the Horseshoe Crab, occasionally known as the "king crab." Kind of a funny looking animal. Some say it is a living fossil. But the writers of this wildlife kingdom profile have decided that calling it an" underwater casserole" would be much more fitting.

When I think of casseroles, I don't think of things with lots of legs. And I also don't think of it being underwater. I like to think of french friend onions. Or sometimes I like to think of funerals. Little known fact, casseroles are the traditional food of the funerals. If someone dies; you bring them a casserole. Think about it, but don't think too hard--you might think of a regrettable experience about a dear lost aunt.

Apparently, you can cook a horseshoe crab. But I don't think you can make a casserole out of it. And I don't think you should take a horseshoe crab casserole to a funeral even though casseroles are the traditional foods of funerals. Once again it it the too many leg thing.

Alas we are left with a living fossil. In the age of dinosaurs, there were no casserole and there were no horseshoes. In fact this nameless crab went around experiencing a kind of existential crisis that only post-modernist theorist and 8-track aficionados experience these days as they tried to cling to some sense of identity in their era. It was only until the invention of horse that this crab had some sense of purpose.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Perhaps one of the few constants in my life for the past 16 or so years has been my persistent love of Beck.

On you can see a whole bunch of old beck videos and get the back story on them. Along with see his current "Record Club" project in which he is covering The Velvet Underground and Nico. While I have constantly imagined doing my own version of that album using Henry Kissenger to sing the lines that Nico once crooned...I still have an idea of how I can do will take a lot of time, and a hell of a lot of 60 Minute interviews but it will be AWESOME when it is done...but enough with the digressions.

So yes...Beercan. By far this ranks in one of my favorite Beck songs. It has Buzzo from the Melvins in it. What else can be said. Oh, and a woman doing welding! Hot!

Mellow Gold "Beercan" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

So enjoy...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Field Trip: Gresham's International District

To end the Gresham-o-rama experience, I give you a highlight of Gresham dining--Heidi's. This is something I like to think of as fine dinering.

One thing that indicates being in a classic diner, and that you are too young to be a patron, is the inclusion of liver and onions on the menu. My estimate of the mean age of the clientele is at about 65 and dying.

Heidi's has a Swiss theme. Though most of the gift store items have to do with Dutch products and German goods. Oh, and the fresh crab isn't too fresh...of course crab isn't really a traditional Swiss dish. So don't order the crab benedict.

If that isn't confusing enough, there is a giant pagoda across the street from this little slice of Europe in Gresham. Which makes me feel like this part of town might just be ripe for some type of political turmoil sooner than later.

I honestly think I have written all I can about this place. Now I need a new field trip. Next weekend promises high the Mary Hill Museum.
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This is what happens at age 30...

Here's to more of it...what ever it is. I think...
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Field Trip: Oh No You Didn't

The Gresham Field Trip, hence known as Gresham-o-rama, has become an enlightening cultural experience. I have come to the conclusion, that this unique blip on the Oregon map is beyond confusing and slightly scary. But not because choice of ominous use of vicious animal mascots.

For example, the Gresham High School mascot, the Gopher.

We all know that I have a deep love of rodents, but this one posed like some pissed off valley girl is not really threatening me in any way. A cougar, a ram, an ox, hell even a orca might be a more terrifying mascot. They at least trample things or eat meat. But a gopher doesn't. A gopher pisses of farmers. Which given that Gresham was once a farming town makes sense, but that cultural significance is lost.

If a team is going for the cute and cuddly angle, they should go all the way. Like this lovely hamster below. All cuddles and cuteness. No threats of digging up the lawn or ruing the vegetable patch. And no silly pose. Just a look of wonder and bewilderment at how cute and cuddly, so mother-beloved-effin' cuddly it is...

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Thursday, August 20, 2009


During the field trip now known as Gresham-o-rama, I came across this little oddity. it is a box for memories. I get that. But I don't understand the title of this little piece. There is no tree. And since the tree had to die to make the wooden box, it really didn't have a prayer. But then trees don't pray. And prayers are not memories. Nor can a physical memory be contained in a tacky box. ARRRRGGGH! So this logical loop makes me wonder: What the hell is this all about any way? Such silliness in Gresham.

Just give me a tree with some angels glued to it and then call it give it the silly name affixed to this piece of drivel. Maybe then I will understand it. But then again , I am not 75 and prone to gift shop decor for my home just yet.

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Hal Jordan, Your a Bastard We Love...

Way before Blackest Night, way before Sinestro War, way before Rebirth, Hal Jordan was dead. He was dead and well he was kind of a bastard. But like all bastards who die, he had one hell of a send off.

The simple story is this...After being a complete bastard after his city was destroyed, he killed a large number of the best and brightest Green Lantern Corps, he killed off the Guardians of the Universe, he then destroyed the Central Power Battery. But that wasn't all; he decided that he needed to fix everything. So he tried to recreate the universe. That didn't work too well either.

So when the sun was being devoured by a giant amoeba space creature called a Sun Eater, he decided he needed to help once more. This time he was a little less of an asshole about it and he sacrificed himself re-igniting the sun. Kudos to you, Hal Jordan. Kudos.

Much like a codependent lover, the heroes of the DC universe...and then some...all gather here to honor the brave sacrifice of Hal Jordan in this touching issue of Green Lantern.

In one of those rare instances after the Vertigo imprint of books got running, Constantine and Swamp thing appear with other DC characters, Something that is kind of nice to see given that they rarely intermingle these days.

But you know what, Batman...he's on to you Hal. He is just pretending to think you are forgiven. He still thinks you are a bastard. Even though he is dead...or somewhere in the paleolithic age, he knows you are a complete bastard.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Narwhal, nuff said...

Today on NPR there was a feature on the elusive narwhal. And while I would love to think of this animal as a taxidermy creation, it simply isn't. In my mind, the narwhal is an animal similar to the platypus, something so strange that it couldn't be real. But, alas, it is.
One things that is great about the description on the back of these cards is that they are dated. I doubt there are a number of "Eskimos" out there these days making narwhal harpoons. In fact, I doubt many use harpoons for hunting.
But you know what would be cool is a narwhal combined with a platypus. That would be the most awesome animal ever. Does anyone know a damned good taxidermist who has a a whale, lots of feather, and one effin' huge duck bill?
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Field Trip: The Scariest House in Portland...

There are plenty of terrifying houses in Portland, most of them involve the production of meth, but this one is scary in a whole different way.

Perhaps it is the lack of lawn...And the predominance of red rock and concrete?

Perhaps it is the "In Memory of our Troops and the piles of white stones that look like two strange grave sites...

Perhaps it is the scary bunny, hanging from a swing, decorated in tinsel, with a certain Rambo grin and gun strapped to its fuzzy body...And the warning signs that every inch of this house is being monitored, recorded video taped, and documented.

Perhaps it is the number of crosses, more than Calvary, more than Golgatha, hell, perhaps more than the end of The Life of Brian...

I could tell you where the Scariest House in Portland is located...But if I posted the address or even the cross streets, the owner might hunt me down and kill me.
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Field Trip: Gresham HIstory Museum

What Can I say about the Gresham History Museum? I think that both Khris, my museum buddy and I had a great time at the museum and in Gresham learning of the history and the unique culture of the people of this town. And by the people, I mean those who currently inhabit it the city of Gresham.

Well to begin with, the museum is housed in an old Carnegie Library, one unlike any that I have seen before--a brick structure with unique leaded glass work. Compared to most of the Carnegie Libraries I have seen in Oregon and on the West Coast, this one seems more fitting of the East Coast, mainly because brick structures are so rarely seen. They were taking down the exhibit on the former mayor of Gresham, so things were in transition when we got there. An older gentleman of about 85+ years greeted us and guided us with stories of his youth as we looked at exhibits.

Things of note that I picked up from his stories: if you are riding a horse bareback and it tries to buck you, keep hitting it with your hat as you hold onto its mane; The dairy farmers always new which milk pails were their own; "well...he shot all the elk and deer and told the warden that they could get the meat or it would just rot there, but it ain't no reason to have the guy arrested." And while some of his stories didn't make much sense, nor did they really give us a sense of the history of Gresham, he did show me how a seeder worked, and he did show me where the Multnomah County Fair Grounds used reside.

The images in this set, which unfortunately are a little hard to see are all of the fair grounds which have since been paved over. As far as we can tell, there is a shopping center where these exhibit halls and where a grand set of archways used to stand.

The yoke is an original artifact from one of the settlers. The owl, which interested me more than the yoke was in the old general store. This museum had an unsurprising lack of taxidermy, but seeing the mounted owl, I was left satisfied.

This plaster relief is an original WPA commissioned project that was lost for decades but was found in the attic of the Gresham High School. In my mind, this is probably one of the more impressive artifacts at the museum, aside from the old man who regaled us with stories. It has been restored to preserve it for the future. Some of the artwork to come out of the WPA was quite good, it is nice to see that someone had the sense to move it to the museum instead of city hall. Oh, and city hall for Gresham is apparently in a mini-mall.

And this is an actual wagon wheel. I believe the sign says it as well. So if you had your doubts, be assured that if you go to Gresham, and you don't think that this is a wagon wheel, they will prove you wrong.

So what did I learn? For a one-room museum in a small library, The Gresham History Museum is quaint and nice. There was nothing too kitschy or unbelievable, but there was a collection of scary dolls that was not quite explained. Also to prove it was Gresham, there was a beat-up metal-framed futon and mattress in front of one of the main displays. Apparently it is for sale, the futon, not the display.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Little Known Nature Facts...

My wildlife cards are great! For example, without their help, and this wonderful illustration, I would have never known that humpback whales were capable of flight!

As far as I can tell, the circle with all of the arrows indicates all of the directions in which a humpback whale can travel: forwards, backwards, lateral, horizontal, downwards, diagonally, and most impressively, vertically. Apparently, a humpback whale can flap its fins so fast, even faster than that of a humming bird, that it will cause the massive animal to propel out of the water and fly for upwards of 300 meters which is a distance longer than most chickens and poodles are able to fly.

Those keen on new forms of aquaculture can also attempt to milk humpback whales to make cheese. However, baby humpbacks are known to be highly aggressive and to use their baleen as a weapon against men wearing scuba equipment.

The things we learn on the internet!
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Not coming up in Blackest Night...

Do you remember when a lonely Guardian, heartsick over being left behind when all of the his brothers went off with their immortal feminine equals the Zamarons to make nookie in another dimension, decided to take towns, villages, and alien settlements from around the universe and move them to the planet Oa? No?
Well, this is the basis for Green Lantern: Mosaic or at least the starting point for this social experiment in cross cultural idealism. Basically, this was one of the experimental comic books of the early nineties that DC was playing with at the time. While Superman and Batman were doing their Supering and Batty things, The Green Lantern of Earth, John Stewart has been moved to Oa to navigate a unique role of mediator, moderator, cultural interpreter, sociologist, cultural historian, ambassador, and kick-ass super-hero all while numerous aliens try to learn how to coexist on an alien planet.
Mosaic has yet to be collected and probably never will be gathered into a single book or collection of editions. The ideas expressed, the aliens, characterization, and even the narration provided by John Stewart and the primary protagonist made this book feel more like Doom Patrol or Swamp Thing in nature versus typical comic fair of the day.

The image below is a map of the of The Mosaic. Each Alien race had its own region, Steamfrogs had their own place while humans lived in the in the transported town of Hope Springs. Berserkers, a particularly brutal race lived is marked with a warrior.

One thing of note that somewhat confuses me though about the planet Oa and the Guardians in general. If they are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and they created the ultimate weapon that's only weakness is the color yellow...shouldn't they have done something against the yellow chlorine storms? Even Metamorpho knows how to deal with chlorine...

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Analysis Complete: Interpreting my MRI

Top research scientists in specializing in neuro-anatomy have finally sent over clearly labeled regions of my brain as part of a collaborative project between the Wonderful World of Clutter and the Brain Science Institute of Applied Scientific Labeling. Basically, they are an organization that likes to look at pictures of scientific things and apply scientific labels. I figured they could provide the best analysis of the regions of my brain given that their work is highly regarded.
Aside from informing me that my skull is oddly misshapen in various parts, They have also identified key regions of interests to both me and avid readers of this blog. Some of the images may be a bit hard to read, so please click on the brain scans to see an enlarged view.

This first image clearly maps some of the large area where bad ideas come from, a highly specialized region that mirrors the bad idea area that is dedicated solely to the love of taxidermy, and a region in the primitive brain consumed by random song lyrics.

This next large, highly-ridged area is where general concern over Evil Monkeys is centered. It is hypothesized that this area has become so specialized in order to interpret and avoid the warning signs of Evil Monkey interference. While speech and language might normally be centered here in most people, apparently my vocal warnings about the Simian Kabal has formed its own specialized region that overwhelms the power of speech. Thus leading to one of my central theses, Evil Monkeys are everywhere. Good thing the MRI revealed that I have a latent ability for laser vision. I just need to focus my attention more to make it work. At the region of the Arbor Vitae, we find more clutter.

The last brain scan reveals a large central area dedicated solely to the knowledge of comic books. Right above the medulla is a region that is triggered by negative stimuli such as the terror of butterflies and moths. This area is responsible for the "fight of flight" response. Fight or Flight from butterflies and moths. Useless Historical Trivia and More Clutter take up other areas of the brain.

This is a Brain on Clutter

Have you ever wondered what happens to the brain when it is filled with clutter? When random pieces of trivia, useless knowledge of comic book lore continuity, information on fruit and vegetables, useless historical figures and time lines forms the grooves and fissures of that bowl of pudding inside one's skull.

These raw images have not been completely analyzed yet, but soon this will be completed and a full understanding of of what these precision MRIs of my brain will mean.

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