Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blackest Night in Jelly Stone Forest

The Funky PhantomImage via Wikipedia
With the popularity of Blackest Night and formation of color-coded rainbow corps around the word of the internets, I decided to get into the act as well. While many are choosing the realm of comics as the basis for alternate Lanterns, I decided to go the route of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. 

Here is my list of New Guardians if the Blackest Night occurred in cartoon land. I guess if you spent enough time watching these wonderful world of Hanna-Barbera it would all make sense. If this list doesn't. Well, shame on you. 

Red = Ranger Smith
Orange =Yogi Bear
Yellow = Dick Dastardly
Green = Huckleberry Hound.
Blue = Augie Doggie
Indigo = Magilla Gorilla
Violet = Snagglepuss
Black = The Funky Phantom

If you would like to see other fine examples of fantasy color guards, rainbow coalitions, new guardians, or whatever you want to call them in effect (or just see what nerds spend most of their time thinking about and why they more than likely don't have girlfriends)...check out the following link to Robot 6.

***And yes, I realize that my parenthetical is the equivalent of a kettle calling calling the pot...

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

History of the Buffalo

Ah, the American Bison, or more commonly known as the buffalo. What a magnificent creature.

It has a history of slightly ominous origin. One that can be tied to some kooky religious ideas as I found during my diggings into the cryptozoological origins of this megafauna of the American West.

During my recent jaunt to Montana, my good friend Ali and I made a treck to the Bison Range to see this animal. But given that the bison are much smarter than out of town visitors such as myself, there none to be seen in this vast preserve.

However, once we left the property of this wonderful wild range, we found a nice farm with plenty of acreage and enough bison for me to photograph.

But these beasts look so timid, like calm wooly cows munching on the grasses of the valleys of Montana.  However, the Europeans had a much different take on this animal. The mythical beast the bonnacon is probably based on early descriptions of bison. Essentially, it was a large bull with curved horns that shot caustic fire and fumes out of its rear. Think of it like a fire-breathing dragon in reverse.

Speaking of dragons, I strolled across an interesting rational for dragons while looking up the history of the bonnacon. Since creationists are often looking for some explanation for how the bible is right about everything including even though they can't get over the whole dinosaur deal, they figure that dragons, especially the fire-breathing types, can be explained by the same methane gasses produced by cattle. This link is comical at best, completely earnest at worst, and a worthwhile read nonetheless

So I present the picture and a subtle flaw with the image. The smoke snorting bison/bonnacon probably is harmless on this end of the beast. If we went with a European interpretation, this poor man would be running from a giant beast with its ass raised to the air spraying caustic poo and hellfire in his direction like a septic tank hooked up to a sprinkler system. And fiery poo and noxious fumes are something you always must run away from.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On a slightly more serious note...

While the Wonderful World of Clutter is typically filled with jovial musings on the world around us, every once in a while, it serves me well to approach something more critical. So for once, I plan to get escape beyond the "Clutter" voice and present some outside writing by presenting a brief answer to an essay question for a nursing school application.

At this point I firmly put one foot on a soapbox and loudly shout...

Application essays such as these fall firmly into the realm of ephemera in my mind. Lost pieces of text, scraps of paper that will be shuffled, collated, and eventually discarded. Sometimes these remnants will be held as unique examples of writing. Most become boilerplate responses tailored for an intended audience.

Race and social injustice are a difficult subject to tackle--And to ask someone how they were a shining beacon of righteous behavior is not only naive, it is ignorant and often it asks an individual to be dishonest about their own actions. I can only hope that my expression of indignity toward this question was firmly expressed in a respectful way, a  way that critiques and forces more introspection instead of the faulty finger pointing that frays relations instead of fostering some form of raised awareness.

Stepping off soapbox....

5.  Handling systemic challenges:  Describe your experiences facing or witnessing discrimination or an injustice. Tell us how you responded and what you learned from those experiences and how they have prepared you to contribute to the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx School of Nursing.

There is an inherent flaw to this question, because almost all people will respond that they stood up against a wrong, that they were bold in the face of adversity, that they protected the weak. But in reality, as a minority who has been on the receiving end of bias, discrimination, bigotry, or whatever term you want to use, when faced with such a challenged I only want to maintain my dignity through the process. Each time I travel, I am shuffled off to the side to be frisked, have my bags unpacked and swabbed down, and given more attention than the average traveler because I have dark complexion, I have to endure the process. Do I protest and say this is unjust? While I would like to, I can’t. I don’t have the power to. But I can maintain my dignity, go through the ordeal, and eventually air my grievance until enough people will listen. While my experience may be different from others, I can empathize with those who have been shunned, who have been called outcasts, and who have been targeted. I am not na├»ve to the existence of racism in today’s society and can lend a sympathetic and empathetic ear to those who have experienced whatever wrong they faced. If I can help them maintain their dignity in the process then there is some success. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jackalope Variations and Other Taxidermy Specimen

It takes little to amuse me. Readers of The Wonderful World of Clutter are probably well aware of this simple truth. So when I ventured to Montana a week ago, I had two goals in mind; take pictures of taxidermy and hang out with friends.

The number of good mounts found in pawn shops, antique stores, book stores, bars, restaurants, makes the hunt for taxidermy an easy one. And of course there are numerous private trophy collections throughout town that have world class  animals on display.

This jackalope holding a shot glass is larger than most specimen I have seen in many of my ventures. It's unique for many reasons, the size and horn structure being the primary prominent feature. While many jackalope have antlers that resemble those of deer or possibly antelope, this particular specimen has horns resembling more goat like in structure. I estimate that before this animal was mounted, in the wild it would have weighed at least 50 to 75 pounds. Truly this is a mighty find compared to the tiny specimen that most encounter in the world of Jackalope.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Learning

Presented today are two unique book titles I came across while strolling through a wonderful book store in Montana. 

While I didn't actually read these books, I thought they would be interesting enough to photograph. We all know the cliche about books and their respective covers...

Thus, I present: There is a Method to this Madness. 

It may be the prequel to Brokeback Mountain...or it could be something completely different. I will let the reader decide.

The next title leaves much less to the imagination. The Basic Essentials of Hypothermia probably breaks down to the following topic of Hypothermia into the following chapters: You get real cold; You get real dead. You probably shouldn't do either. So grow a mustache like the man on the cover because that will keep you warm.

It's good to know that this book is part of The Basic Essential Series. I didn't get a chance to see if there were any other titles available to purchase in this short run of books, but I can only imagine that the titles would include  topics such as:

The Basic Essentials of Grizzly Bear Attacks
The Basic Essentials of Poison Ivy Rashes
The Basic Essentials of Montezuma's Revenge
The Basic Essentials of Being a Minority in Idaho

The list could go on ad infinitum...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Models out of Context

If you just quickly looked at the figure bellow what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Even if we change the angle, the object becomes less familiar.

From the flesh tone colors, you have probably already guessed that this is an anatomical model of something. But what kind of structure can be so foreign?

It looks similar to the xenomorphs, the H.R. Gieger inspired Alien creations of the movie franchise. All it would need are razor sharp teeth, and some claws. 

Or perhaps there is a resemblance to genitals.  Bulbs, stalks, curves, tubes--rounded smooth shapes that seem to be suggestive of something sexy the way a Tiffany Lamp is always somewhat suggestive of something sexy.

Of course this rebus is not all that challenging. The structure is the brain stem. And while we all somewhat know what a brain looks like, when taken apart into individual elements, it becomes frighteningly unfamiliar. 
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Cross-eyed Jesus...

Get it? Cross's funny because Jesus was on a cross...

Too soon?

Bad puns and jokes aside, I really do love religious iconography. Especially when it is poorly executed. For example, this rendering of The Pieta. Jesus looks properly dead, but Mary looks like a 82nd Avenue harlot or an eighties fashion victim who went little crazed with the mascara and blush. Makes me wonder if she has a leggings on underneath all the blue robes. But then again, it could be the ever effective Tammy Faye effect of tears and running make-up that all of the holiest figures seem to get these days.

If I had the money I would've purchased this from the Montana Antique Mall. But I decided to go with some other things I will proudly share with you once I return to Portland in a few days.

I just have to say that Mary has one unholy eyebrow. She can be the blessed virgin, et cetera, et cetera, but some evil must have taken over that eyebrow. And that is why god invented tweezers.
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Well...What can you say?

Some things just go together. Hall and Oates; coffee and cigarettes; toast and jam; sex and eventual regret...But then some things don't well together at first, but then when you think about it they make perfect sense.

For example, these two things pinned together on the bulletin board in the break room at my work.

I would have liked to have claimed responsibility for this pairing of contrasting concepts. But it was not me. And to them I proudly tip my hat.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kind of Like Thor But Different...

Perhaps this is my first not safe for work post. Don't worry there are no lewd pictures but the verbal content might as well be considered questionable. So please refrain from reading this out loud in a work environment. Unless you might work in an open setting that allows for the awkward forms of discussions that follow conversations about awkward sexual topics.

Sitting at my local bar, I have the opportunity to overhear a great number of conversations. Most of these are quite boring and almost all are of no consequence to the greater happenings of life. But sometimes we encounter odd things.

For example, there was the extremely strange mouth-breathing-comic-book-fan who went on a ten minute long uninterrupted discussion about the comic book character Apocalypse, and how the issue he help was the one of only two in which he appears in space with a face mask, but without his normal face mask. He then turned to point out his jacket, which he referred to as "Kind of like Thor, but different, and more awesome." Definitely inconsequential.

But then there are the opportunities to over hear the more intimate moments of peoples lives. For example, one girl trying to explain to another that her physiology should allow her to insert her dildo further into her vagina than she currently does. The explanation was quite intricate, and possibly biologically sound; the uterus when not holding a fetus does not behave like a balloon even though that is always how it is shown in pictures. Instead, as one girl quietly tried to explain to her partner, it is kind of like a flat pouch. That, and probably when she uses her toy she is sitting down, adding an extra bend to the internal genital region that would further obstruct placement. The two then traded stories of how one should trade positions, relax, practice yoga, perhaps not knowing that when talking in a noisy bar, quiet conversations are always much louder than they are intended to be.

In consequential conversations overheard at the bar...much as the weird comic book guy stated, are kind of like Thor, but different, and more awesome.

We are just forms in Clay: Art Clokey 1921-2010

Today one of the greatest animators, artists, and innovators passed away. Art Clokey was the creator of Gumby, and while we may think of this fanciful blue-green character as a remnant of kitsch, Clokey's creation set the stage for innovations in stop-motion film. 

I recall numerous Gumby shorts from when I was a kid, some extremely surreal and beyond the common platitudes and moral tropes of most children's entertainment. Often the story had no plot, the short was filled with aimless wandering and the childhood experiments of a three-year-old mind, a "What happens when I do this" mentality of film-making more modernist directors try to achieve in contemporary times.  Gumby dared, he walked into books, got into trouble. walked on the moon, crawled into ovens. In one episode, Gumby and Pokey met Native American Gods, Kachina Dolls appeared on the horizon and brought rains to a drought stricken village. Other episodes bordered on the hauntingly terrifying; the children's toyroom where most of the adventures took place had an eerie lighting more appropriate for a poltergeist short than a tale for kids.

And of course, there was Clokey's love of Jazz and abstract shapes. Gumbasia is probably the best representative of love. 

In honor of his life, please enjoy this short film.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Open Letter: Dear Mr. Greg Rucka

Dear Greg Rucka,

I want to thank you for all of your excellent work at DC Comics these last few years. The praise you have been receiving for Detective Comics is quite well deserved and I think it's one of the best reads out there.

I have a proposal to make, actually more of a request. With the recent moves with Red Arrow, his maiming, and the proclaimed changes coming to the Green Arrow related books, I suggest that you take the helm. Here is what I think should happen, since Red Arrow is now in critical condition, missing an arm, and destroyed, I believe that he will be completely re-written as a character. That of course we all know. But how is in question, comic book lore has his past heroine use being a hallmark of his relationship with Black Canary and Green Arrow, I believe that this is the best thing to play up at this point.

A character that has been so critically wounded will inevitably end up on a morphine drip if such actions occurred in real life and he survived. A former junkie exposed to a similar narcotic can trigger a relapse. I believe that Red Arrows physical wounds should lead to the complete character deconstruction that accompanies drug addiction and this would be a good story to approach from a realistic angle.

Green Arrow on the other hand should be moved back to the Pacific Northwest. He has history in Seattle, and you have connections to Portland. Stumptown is awesome and I think that you have the knack to pull the grim history of heroine history of Portland into a story line that draws in the history of all the Green Arrow/Red Arrow/Arsenal/Black Canary Books.

The super-hero antics, the fanciful villains, the marriage drama, death-rebirth-death-rebirth, stories of Green Arrow are old. Return him to his liberal vigilantism in the streets on a wet, depressing setting in a climate that squirms with moodiness. The take that you took for The Question will work perfectly.

I greatly appreciate your work and highly anticipate your future projects.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Irrational Fears

A number of years ago, during a time of detoxing, depression, and unusual withdrawl from society, I found myself wandering the halls of my local grocery store. The shop itself was particularly unusual in that it was the only one that I had been to with carpets throughout the entirety and a no Spam. And given that my whole mission in venturing to the store was to purchase a can of Spam to make Spam fried rice, I found myself even more dismayed than usual.

While wandering the bulk food section I had an epiphany of sorts. While standing in front of the dried beans and split peas, I realized that somewhere out there, someone was in a situation much worse than mine. For all of those peas had to be split. Someone in a factory in the middle of some agricultural community filled with silos of peas is having to split peas for all of eternity.

I pictured the individual standing in front of a conveyor belt with a butter knife and an unending mountain of peas rolling his way. With each pea he halved, a little piece of his soul would die. He would stand alone at this station by himself, working all day to fill bags of split peas for people so they could make vomit-colored soups that no one ate at the school cafeteria. In essence, his life, his career, his duty was an exercise in futility.

Have you ever watched those really bad sitcoms where people have sudden flashes of alternate lives they could have lived in a blink-of-an-eye, where they could have married their high school sweet heart or some other occurrence only to shake their heads and break out of it in a second or two? Well, I kind of had something like that, except, I stood in front of the split peas hyper-ventilating worrying that I was going to become a pea splitter for the rest of my life. Of course, I also hate the smell of peas. I don't know why I even stopped. In the end, I didn't buy any groceries. I never found a can of Spam. I fled the store in a frantic panic and decided that cigarettes would be a more adequate meal for the evening.

I tried to explain what happened to one of the three friends I had kept in contact with during this period of self-imposed exile. Their advise was that I needed to get out more. This was also the same time frame they though that I was about to cover my windows with aluminum foil to keep the fluorescent lights out (strange story about the layout of my apartment). So needless to say, my seeking of advice didn't get much help.

So with 2010 now here, let this not so inspirational message make you realize we are all just one step away from becoming pea splitters somewhere...or...we are never far from having our friends consider us crazy.