Saturday, November 06, 2004

For some dumb reason, I was thinking about Burl Ives...

...and I wondered, if somebody reminds you of Burl Ives, how do you describe that person? You have to resort to general descriptives, like Husky, Jolly, Grandfatherly, etc. But you can't use a term that would specifically call forth the Burl Ives metaphor.

Burly? Burlish? Burlesque? Ivy? they're all taken.

It's not fair. People who behave like Don Quixote can be "quixotic" -Burlic? Ivesic?

Why aren't folks who resemble Don Ho called Holy?

I guess you run into similar trouble if you want to compare somebody to Noel Coward.
How can you call them Cowardly, and have it sound like a compliment?

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Last Night was Trick-Or-Treat night in our neighborhood, and we had a refreshing rennaisance. In the last couple years, we were lucky if we got twenty kids, and if we had three houses on the block with lights on.
Last Night 59 kids stopped at our door, and looking down the street I saw lights at five other houses. That's still a far cry from the 120 kids we had eight years ago, and when you consider that there are 26 houses on my block, only 6 participating houses is still rather lame.

We had Whoppers and Kit-Kats, and those new Butterfinger Crisp wafer things. I also had set aside some promotional items from the theater; Mini-Posters for "Thunderbirds" and Yu-Gi-Oh promo cards. We got rid of it all, save for about a dozen Butterfingers, and what's left of those will be in my Coat Pockets as i judge our Halloween Parade tomorrow.

I try and be there for the neighborhood kids when it comes to Halloween, if only because I took so much candy out of this neighborhood when I was little. These poor kids today, who came by door with their half-filled bags, would freak out if they saw the neighborhood in the Early 70s, when we'd have to map out a route that brought us back to Homebase halfway through the evening. That pit stop was needed, to dump our full pillowcase of candy, and get another empty for the rest of the neighborhood. (...and maybe to stick a spare mask in a coat pocket, so we could re-visit the house that had the full-size candy bars.)

It wasn't just Halloween when I was little. In the Summer, The mailman usually had a bag of taffys in his truck each day when he came around. If we missed the mailman on his rounds, we could usualy round up a couple deposit bottles, and take them back to the corner gas station, get a dime, and buy an ice cream bar. Now as Parents, my generation recycles everything, and we rob the kids of that little lesson in industriousness.

What I'd like to do for the town at Halloween is DJ on the Square downtown right before the Parade gets there. I certainly have more than enough Halloween-Themed Rock&Roll songs to fill a few hours, and that would be without using most of the obscure songs. Maybe Tomorrow as I'm Judging the parade, I can put a bee in somebody's bonnet for next year.

Speaking of Music, I got up early this morning and went to an auction, where I scored a whole boxful of 50s and 60s Lounge/exotica/easy listening records -about 70 albums and a couple promotional acetates, all in near-mint condition. For a whole $2.00! Perry Como, Doris Day, Engelbert, Dick Hyman, Andre Kostelanetz, Boston Pops, Nat King Cole, Maurice Chevalier, Sophie Tucker, Mother Maybelle Carter, Jimmy Durante, Paul Weston, Johnny Mathis, Art Mooney, Les Elgart, and more! Sure, If I came across this stuff at the thrift store, I'd pass most of it up, but I figure I got much more than my Money's worth on the Jimmy Durante and Maybelle Carter records alone! There are a few weirdos in the group, and you'll seen them soon at

Monday, October 25, 2004

My Brief Career in Film is over.

I spent most of the afternoon today taking apart movies. Last Night was the closing night at the theater where I'd been employed as projectionist/asst. manager since May.

The last film shown last night was The Bourne Supremacy.

Today we began gutting the theater. I'd taken apart three of the last ten films we'd been showing last night, and today I had to take apart the other seven films, put em back in their cans, and get 'em ready for the distributor to pick up.

The First day I worked there, my first duty was to assemble Kill Bill Vol 2. It was somewhat fitting that the last thing I did on my last day was take apart the Jet Li flick, Hero.

It wasn't a total downer of a day, though.

I found a Mint copy of Martin Denny's Quiet Village LP, and a couple BLOTTO EPs at the Goodwill, and the PEZ I'd Ordered from Steve Glew got here.

I got the European SHREK 2 dispensers, and a PEZ GUN!

Donkey and Shrek came with a pack of Cherry Pez! Posted by Hello

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Lion King Pez Dispensers have arrived. Posted by Hello

I just found these at the Dollar Tree near my House this afternoon. New Pez!
I only saw these five. Why No Rafiki?

Pez is really cranking out the New dispenser designs these last couple years. I guess it's in direct response to the collector interest in the old ones. It used to be there'd be maybe One All-New set of dispensers a year, One Licensed Set, and maybe there'd be a few minor changes to the Holiday assortments at Halloween, Christmas and Easter. You could get thru the year only having to buy maybe ten dispensers, and still be a completist.

Nowadays, They seem to do two or three Licensed sets a year for the U.S., and maybe another three or four sets for Europe and Canada, and then there's at least one set of Pez original designs added also. Just to keep up with the standard dispensers, you need to buy upwards of forty to fifty dispensers a year.
That's not counting all the special dispensers from CapCom and other companies, the watches, keychains, flashlights, partyfavors, cereal box prizes, etc. Not to mention the special limited edition promoyional giveaways and Premiums, and the exclusive dispensers offered at, and the color variants, and the special see-thru special editions....etc.

I think that they've entered the realm of the "manufactured collectible" here, and since I hardly can finish the candy before another new dispenser hits the stores, I'm going to scale back my collecting to only those standard designs that I find in stores. besides, i need to get a new storage cabinet because i don't have space to display the ones I have now.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I'd Started bringing the stale Popcorn home to feed the birds...

...and ended up feeding the squirrels and other wildlife in our yard as well.

This morning, I watched in amazement as one of the larger squirrels foraged on the popcorn I'd scattered over our mulch pile in the corner of the yard. Less than four feet away, perched on the fence, watching the squirrel, was one of the Falcons that has moved into our neighborhood.

It's so cool to see a wild falcon in my backyard. The weird thing was, the squirrel didn't seem to be afraid. It calmly selected a kernel, and then scampered up the fence into the Wistaria, and safely nibbled. The Falcon must have decided then to select an easier meal, and flew towards the front yard, which brought it right past the window from where I watched. Better than a three-foot wingspan, easily.

The squirrel then calmly scampered back down for another kernel.

If I don't find work in another theater, I'm soon going to have to make fresh popcorn at home for the critters. At least then i can make it without salt, perhaps. Then I can put it on the grass in other areas of the lawn without worrying about the salt ruining the grass.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

It's Official. Penn State Sucks yet again. They're off to a great 2 and 4 start, and, at 0 and 3 in the Big Ten, make the kids at Northwestern proud of themselves again.

I want Joe Paterno to give me back the hours of my life I've wasted watching his shitty teams these last few years.

I need to reconfirm my belief that Professional Athletes are merely Prostitutes, doing things with their bodies for money that most of us would do for fun.

To extrapolate, I guess then that Amateur and College athletes are just Sluts.

There are just to many better things to do on a Sunny Fall Saturday Afternoon.
Well, My Brief Career in the "Entertainment Industry" may be near its end...

I found out yesterday that the Second-Run theater at which I've been Assistant Managing since May will be closing October 24. The Mall we're in, which is practically empty, and fondly referred to by myself as "Mall Of The Dead" is slated to be torn down and redeveloped, and the new plans don't include a theater. Shame.

This theater, which opened in January of 1974 as a United Artists tri-plex, and became a five-plex by December of the same year was one of my favorite places to hang out as a kid. I was really enjoying showing 2-dollar movies in the place where I saw Gumball Rally, 1941, The Jerk, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Rocky Horror, Young Frankenstein, and The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday. The Latter film, with Lee Marvin, was my first R film. My cousin took me to it when I was 12. My first tits on film were in that picture.

United Artists closed down there in 1998, and the place reopened shortly thereafter as a second-run house. My company took it over in 2002.

As I come to think of it, this was the last of the places I used to hang out in before I left for College that was still standing. Four of the town's old malls have died and been redeveloped into new, different retail sites. Four of the old 70s bowling alleys are gone. All three of our Drive-ins (four, if you count the X-rated Drive-In) are gone, turned into Housing developments or shopping centers. The Old ice Rink is now the Roller Rink, and of the old roller rinks, one burnt down, and the other, now vacant, will be demolished with my mall. The old community swimming pool no longer has a deep end, for fear of lawsuits. Even most of the bars I frequented in the 1980s are gone.

About all that's left are the graveyards we used to whistle past.

Well anyway, the owner of my Theater says she wants to open a new location somewhere in York, but I don't know of an existing venue, and if she finds one, I don't see her having it open before January. She's keeping her theater in Harrisburg, 30 miles away, open. My boss is moving up there to take charge of that one. He says he might have to "clean house" up there, and could have a spot for me (I mentioned a corresponding raise to make up for the $4 a day more I'd have to spend on gas alone,) but otherwise I'm eligible for unemployment. I guess the upside is that I should get more per week than when I got canned from Papa John's because the UC folks didn't calculate tips into my earnings.

Still, I'd rather not have to look for work again.

I felt like going out tonight to happy hour at the tittybar, to lift my spirits, but instead, I drove over to Lancaster County, and searched the record bins at their Goodwill outlets. I found about 27 albums on vinyl ranging between 25 and 75 cents each, and even a CD of Lou Reed's Transformer for just a quarter! So I'm not feeling too bad.

Some of the albums I found today are strange enough that they'll end up on my other blog. You can check it out here:

Monday, September 27, 2004

I just wanted everybody to know I'm eating SpongeBob Cheez-Its now. I thought it was important to share. I feel like such a girl. Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I've grown pretty bored with this blog
I wouldn't read it to my dog.
It needs a new gimmerick
like posting in limerick,
to give its charisma a jog.

I'm off on a Saturday Night.
I'm broke and the TV ain't right.
The Brit-TV re-runs
have given me the runs
that squirt cause my asshole is tight.

I bet that you think that it's funny
Because you have plenty of money,
You're out on a Date
while I sit here and wait
for a trip to the bowl that ain't runny.

I hope you're convulsing with laughter,
and you're happy to the ever after,
But if you think there's truth in
These poems I do within
my basement -I'm crazy?- You're Dafter.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Long Time, No See, Revisited.

Hello again. Half of the Susquehanna Valley is still flooded with the rains of Ivan, but I live on High Ground, in an Ivory Tower. All we got was a lot of wind and rain, and nicer, cooler sleeping weather as the high built in behind the system. If not for Mom and Dad letting me keep my aprtment in the basement, I might be in worse straits. I might have been living in the proverbial Van by the River. Well at least I would be in a new neighborhood now if that were the case.

Today my shampoo was jellied again for the first time in several months. That's a sure sign of cooler weather. I still wore shorts when I went out record shopping, though. I like how I look in shorts. Like a weird old guy in shorts. White ones. After Labor Day. Iconoclast.

If you want to see the kind of stuff I buy, visit my other blog:

That's where I spend more time these days.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Long Time No See. I've been busy in the Entertainment Industry.

I haven't been around much because I've been helping to manage the local second-run Movie theater. Summer hours, with Matinees daily make for long workdays.

I thought I'd start using this blogspace as a place to brainstorm story ideas, to keep them on record, and perhaps to invite comment on the ideas from anybody who might read this.

How about a story about a man who has lucid dreams. He originally uses this power purely to indulge his fantasies, i.e., he imagines Heather Locklear naked, and POOF! she's in his dream, naked. Later the man learns that he is actually controlling her dreams, too. She's on Leno, talking about how she's been having these weird dreams lately where she's naked. "Oh, I've had those. I dream about you naked pretty Often," says Jay.
Our protagonist now tries to see if he can influence other people. He steers his dream toward the pretty girl at work that always ignores him. In his dream, he tells her that tulips are sexy.
The next day, she has tulips on her desk, and she seems to recognize him as he passes.

So. he has a power. What does he do with it? hmmm. Enter the dreams of the president? Try to Influence policy? Enter the dreams of Wall Street, and steer the market? What if his mind snaps, and he begins to emulate Freddy Kreuger?

I'll sleep on this one and see what happens.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Okay, where is that Yard full of 17-yr-old Nymphs I'm waiting for?

I expected they would be here by now, singing thru-out the evening to me and flitting all about my neighborhood, desperate to have sex!

Have they become too shy to come out of their shells?

I want my Cicadas, Dammit! Where are They? It's almost the end of May and they haven't surfaced yet around here. All of the Media have been blitzing us for two months now about the coming Cicada Invasion. Ocean City Md, has been using "get Away from The Cicadas" as a reason to go to the shore in their Ad campaigns. I bet they're upset that people aren't flocking to the beach yet.

Okay you Lazy Cicadas of Pennsylvania, wake the hell up already. If you continue to just loaf around underground, those more industrious Cicadas down in Maryland and Virginia that are already out there are going to get all the good jobs and the hottest looking Cicada babes. Get off you asses already! Don't make me get my shovel and dig up that playstation I buried for you. I didn't mean for you to sit around all Summer playing the damned thing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Hello! I'm still alive.
I just haven't been in a mood to blog much.
That and I rediscovered SIMcity 2000 on my Playstation for a few days. That's a good way to waste many hours and make both your butt and your eyes sore.

Egad, so many things I do make my eyes sore. Watching movies, swimming in chlorinated pools, surfing the net, Playstation, reading, drawing. When i do eventually go blind, I don't know how I'll keep myself distracted. I guess I'll listen to music. I won't know which freaking record I'm putting on until it starts to play, but maybe I could finally get thru my collection in under a year.

Speaking of Music... The new Southern Culture on The Skids Album (MOJO BOX) is a hoot! Incredible! Big thanks to Steve Hager for surprising me with a free copy. He also passed on a copy of his mini-comic, Dutchy Digest. Pretty funny stuff if you've ever lived around Pennsylvania Dutch Country. A few choice double entendres among the Amish, and a recipe for Shoo Fly Pie.

I'm still waiting to hear on a new job., and trying to keep my meager monthly bills payed by selling my minis and my original art. The originals go okay on ebay if they have a popular subject matter , like Joey Ramone, the Freakies cereal, Screaming Jay Hawkins, etc. But my other stuff doesn't have enough buzz to garner many hits on an ebay search. So I've set up a new page at my site where I'll be offering my originals to you, my few fans who I keep entertained with this blog and stuff. Be sure and check out the Ben T. Steckler Original Art Store!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

I'm not going to post today.

April Fools!
Oh boy. I really had you going there. You should have seen the look of disappointment on your face! Priceless!

Now go here and watch cartoon characters sell cigarettes.

I have a convention to pack for.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I came in to tell you about what a great Movie Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind is.
Excellent. Another great Charlie Kauffman mind-blower script. Maybe all Hollywood needs to get Philip K. Dick done right for once is to have Charlie Kauffman do the treatment.

I offer this hint to people who have trouble following the scenes in the film. I know the non-linear storytelling with myriad multi-layered flashbacks and lucid dream reinterpretations of memories had my movie buddy Eric confused. Look at Kate Winslet's hair color in her scenes. It changes back and forth from Blue to orange to blue to green to orange to blue to green, etc. If you lay out the story chronologically, her hair color goes from green to orange to blue. This will help you figure out when you're in flashback and when you're in real time.

Now I have to address this problem of why my blog entries from the last two days have vanished, and why I'm missing many other days as i look back over the last six months or so. I swear that I've been writing in this blog every day, but now there are missing entries. And when I look at the photos on my walls, I get that feeling like when I forget to wear my watch, but still look at my bare wrist to check the time.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Yesterday, I'm at our local dead mall to check for money in my POB, and to my surprise there were other people in the place. Well, it was a Saturday afternoon, and maybe the $2 theater was actually showing something that somebody wanted to see. So as I'm walking past the gumball machines near the exit, there are two boys, around 13 or 14, hanging out on the bench there. They were dressed in current hip-hop fashion, with the shiny new sneakers, so we aren't talking destitute kids here.

As i walk by, one says "excuse, me," and even thoughI could smell his huge wad of gum from ten feet away as soon as he opened his mouth, I acknowledged him, because he at least said "excuse me".

"Do You have a quarter?"

I'm thinking. What is with kids today, if they will stoop to begging from a stranger, while wearing $100 sneakers? If they were truly poor kids, they were poor kids with parents with their priorities out of whack.

I felt like saying "Yes. I have a quarter. Do you have a Mother? Get a quarter from her."

I mean it's not like the kids were standing next to the payphone, looking distraught and needing to call home quickly. I'd gladly loan somebody money for a phonecall if it looked like an emergency, or a stranded kid. I'd even welcome them, perhaps, as a fellow soldier in the war against the pervasive presence of cell phones. But these kids were just lounging by the gumball machines, chewing away at their latex cuds.

I made a judgement call, and said, "No. You'll just throw it all away on Gum."

Somebody needs to teach these kids a lesson.

You don't hang around the dead mall and beg for stray quarters. You go across the highway to the busy mall, and get more volume!

Or you set yourself up a paypal site, and beg electronically.

Donations to help this struggling cartoonist pay off his car insurance this week can be sent to paypal ID:

(I'm only wearing $30 sneakers, and they are the same Chuck Taylors I've been wearing for almost a year now. Please help.)

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Aah! Spring!
What Have I hated most about this winter? My shampoo has had the consistency of Jell-O almost every morning. The Window sill in my Shower is one of the worst insulated areas of my House. I guess it's partly a side effect of venting all the humidity from the shower. As a result, my shampoo often congeals, as if it's been kept in the refrigerator all night. It doesn't help that this window is on the Northern face of the House, and thus never gets direct sunlight.

When the shampoo turns into this semi-solid, it's hard to squeeze out a proper dollop, and often the glops I get bounce or slide off my wet palm before I can get it up to my head.

Last week, we had a warm spell, and I was relieved the first morning when I could easily pour out a proper serving of shampoo. But this week, it's been cold again, and it's been back to washing my hair with Jell-O.

I suppose I might not have this problem if I went with a shampoo that cost more than a buck-twenty-five a bottle. But, other than the little problem of the consistency, I am very happy with my White Rain. And even though I shampoo at least six times a week, I rarely use more than one bottle a year. It's a good shampoo value.

I find it a tad ironic that a shampoo would have a brand name that is a homophone for the ultimate skinhead goal, though.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The day we all get to pretend we're Irish. We go out, get drunk, and our neighbors get bombed.

But the hell with that Catholic Snake Charmer. Let's talk about what's really important.

Why don't they make Richie Rich comic books anymore?
Oh, the way he would go around buying all kinds of fantastic things, encrusted with jewels! And how he would invite his poor trailer trash friends, Freckles and Pee Wee, over to play with all of Professor Keenbean's inventions!
PeeWee never spoke, but if he did, I'm sure he would say, "Oh, Please, Richie Rich, can your stiff-lipped English Butler, Cadbury, bring us some tea and crumpets whilst we lounge in front of your 50-foot wide Television Device and see Our Mom beat up our Dad on the Jerry Springer show?"

Richie was also a very diplomatic Lover, too. He never said a thing to his girlfriend Gloria about her obscenely large head, big New Jersey hair, and thick ankles.

Richie was very kind and grateful to his parents. He was thankful they didn't abort him, like they had to do with his older brother, Casper.

Apparently Regina Rich's sister also had an abortion. it must have been a common thing in that family, for Hot Stuff The Little Devil was clearly the tormented soul of Reggie VanDough's older sibling. You will remember Reggie as Richie Rich's mean, jealous cousin.

I'm sure that if the Harvey Kids were still published today, Little Dot would be in therapy and drugged up to cure her obsession with polka dots, and Little Lotta would be on Atkins.

The real tragedy is that without a regularlt published comic, the multi-national staff of the various Rich Households has been forced into unemployment. Au Revoir, Chef Pierre!

I'm sure that if Richie Rich Comics were still published today, The World's leaders would still love the U.S., and John Kerry wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I am saddened by the deaths in Madrid.

I hope, for the sake of any innocent Basque people, and for the sake of The cartoonists at NAPARTHEID, some of whom I've met at the ICAF and SPX shows, that the Basque Separatist terrorists of ETA are not found to be involved.

That being said, this cartoon, which is the gateway into NAPARTHEID's website,, has rather sinister implications today to somebody who cannot read the Basque language. Scroll over the chained figures, and they seem to be laughing.

I have sometimes wondered if there were any ties between NAPARTHEID and any radical separatist activities. I can't read most of what is printed in the few zines of theirs I've received, but their mascot seems to have a predilection for throwing cartoon bombs.

For all I know, they could be strong supporters, and perhaps sponsors of terrorist activities, or they could simply be politically active, and no more threatening physically than American punk kids who publish "Fight The Man" type zines.

But an outsider, unfamiliar with their language, and having to judge by the visuals in light of yesterday's tragedy, could be led to draw the wrong conclusion, couldn't he?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I was checking on my statistics for the different pages within my site, and I had a spike of 72 unique visitors last wednesday, with 45 on Thursday to my "Evil Dr. Palindrome" cartoon page.

i wonder if it got mentioned on some blog.

usually, if I check on the "referrers" tab, it will show a strong percentage of people coming in from a site that wasn't on the list before. But the list shows no spikes referring sites other than the usual, and i didn't promote the cartoon i posted last week.

Sure, the palindrome last week was about Jesus, and i'm not surprised that it got more attention than usual. But I wish i knew where the hits were coming from. If some radical Christian group has put a price on my head, I'm sure my "referrers" page would show their site. And i would be getting a few Hate e-mails, like I do whenever I publish or promote my chick parodies.

The weird thing, is My "Miscellaneous Gag" last week was also about Jesus, and it only got 3 hits. I guess I need to do better promotions about the "Miscellaneous gag of the week"

(No, I didn't post a Jesus "f-ARTjoke" last week. Even i will draw the line somewhere.)

I'm puzzled.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I've been away for awhile because I've been putting together a new comic.
PEEPS et BEANS is a sweet satire, suitable for all but the youngest of readers, and just in Time for Easter.
I put up a feature on my website that details the production of this new comic. Check it out.

I saw Hidalgo today. Great Film. Timely too, in how it looks at Arab Culture, and highlights some elements of that culture that had been around for centuries, and are still present over 100 years later, today. Plus I couldn't help noting that I was sitting in a theater watching an American race across Iraq on horseback about a year to the day after I was watching Americans on TV race across Iraq in Armored vehicles.

The theater next door to mine was showing The Passion of The Christ, and the theater lobby had several tables with various pieces of Christian Literature available. As I left my theater, some clergy members were also present, inviting discussion of Mel Gibson's film. I found myself wishing I had a couple of my Chick Tract parodies handy, to slip them onto the literature tables.

The movie I'd just seen had strong elements of both ISLAM and Native American Spiritualism. As i walked past those tables of literature, I wondered why so many people can accept the story of Christ, and other tales from the Bible as truth unquestioned, and in the same breath treat Islamic or native American, or Buddhist, Hindu, or whatever other beliefs as pure myth and falsehood.

Anyway, on the way out, i passed a group of folks waiting in line, and I pointed to the Hidalgo poster, and said to them, "That was a very good film. Part Indiana Jones, part Dances With Wolves, part Gunga Din, and all good. If you're here to see a great movie, go see Hidalgo, folks."

They looked at me with a look that said, "Get Thee Behind me, Foul Tempter!"

That was when I realized that I had my button on my jacket that says, in bold red letters, "DEVIL".

True Story, Swear to God.

Monday, March 01, 2004

It's March 1st, Ladies, Where The Hell are You?

Yes, another Leap Day has come and gone. Why am I still single? This makes ten leap days I've survived; It's six since I was of dating age. Where are all these love-crazy girls that should be beating down doors on every February 29th? The ones trying so desparately to find a Single Guy who's not gay, and propose to him on their one chance in every four years?

What? Am I some kind of Troll? I'm Tall, Broad Shouldered, and Kind of Handsome with my distinguished Gray. Apparently hookers and strippers like me, why don't love-crazy girls notice me?

Okay, i understand that with the Oscars last night, the kind of girl who'd probably go for me was holed up in front of the TV clutching her Broadsword and counting all the Thank Yous to the people in New Zealand. So I'm willing to extend a Grace period of a couple days, women.

Don't you want a guy who'd be happy to stay at home and cook for you while you pursue your career?
All i ask is room for my Art studio, and a Cable Modem connection.

So you have until tomorrow night. After that, I'm back to only looking for a Hump-buddy until Feb 29, 2008, do you Understand? So call now. But don't call between 8 and 10 PM, unless you can make it during a commercial. ( and if you can "make it" during a commercial, you must be easy to please. just my type!)

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Aw Cool! I see that one of my favorite party bands, Southern Culture On The Skids has a new label, and a new album out; MOJO BOX.
I've listened to samples of about half the songs. Sounds like fun. These guys (and girl) put on one helluva live show. I gotta get a job now so I can afford to both pick up the new record, and go to see them when they come to my area again to promote it.

But in case any of my legion of fan is feeling generous, I've added the disc to my Amazon wish list, too.
I'll send original art as a thank you to anybody who sends me something off that list. The link is over there on the right margin of this blog.

You don't need to wait for my Birthday (which is July 10th, by the way).
I am going insane in this basement.
I just caught myself doing a bit of The Jerk to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I have to get out and see the sun or something today. I heard we're in for a warm spell for a couple days. good. I'm starting to appreciate Gene Pitney. I don't know if that's good, or what.

I found a two-record "Best of Gene Pitney" LP in decent shape at the Salvation Army Thrift store the other day. I may not be into their whole religious message, but I do appreciate the Salvation Army, at least locally, for being a good source for cheap used vinyl.

I also got an Esquivel album, a "best of Alan Parsons", a recording of JFK speeches, an album of Hawaiian Tourist trap music, and one of those albums from the 60s or 70s that Women's Auxiliary groups would do as fundraisers, where they'd form a chorus and record an album of their vocal stylings, talent not withstanding. Nowadays it's not the same. Now they just have bake sales, or pose tastefully nude for calendars. One way, Brownies and Pie are involved.

This time it's Warble 'N Whistle By The Larks. This is a group of Ladies from Baltimore's Junior League. They recorded this particular gem "for and with the children" back in 1979.
Apparently from the names listed in the credits, the "children" are all the sons and daughters of the Larks themselves. That's rather Omenous. I'm gonna put it on now. I hope i don't melt my ears.

Hmm... They actually hired professional studio musicians, and a real vocal coach, and a real arranger, and a real producer. The Junior League spent some bucks here. After a cheesy rendition of Boom Boom Ain't it Great To Be Crazy (I hope one of the charities they support isn't a Mental Health
Organization) they move into a really good version of Git On Board with a superb Hi-Hat re-creation of a train's pistons by drummer Steve Rosenheim.
But I'm anxious to hear the last track on this side...Hokey Pokey Disco. Whoop! here it is..... Aaaaah.... When they put their hip in, they really put their HIP in, ya dig? This is going on my next mixtape. That's what That's all about!

Gee. How can Side Two top that? Well it kicks off with Everybody Loves Saturday Night. (Yeah, sure, back in 1979 everybody still loved that show.) Boy, though, I really get the "fever" for "Saturday Night" when they sing it in all the different languages and world musical styles. Still, I'm a little hurt that they didn't mention John Belushi.
I wasn't going to mention the next track Something for You, because i wanted to save my wit for the third track, A Cow's Good Company. But how can I not comment on a line like "I wanted to something for you, Mom....but I can't 'cause I'm watching TV...." Brilliant! And the kid gets a hug at the end of the song, and not a slap. Yeah. The Larks are definitely all White. The Cow song just doesn't compare. Neither does the rest of the album. It's all downhill from side two, track three.

But, GodDamn! That was Five bucks well spent at the Salvation Army.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

2004: The Year when Ben Stiller has to shoot a horse in every picture he does.

I think it's the new law. Yesterday i saw Eurotrip, which was great. We laughed our Asses off. I hope that this and several other upcoming "R" releases are a sign that Hollywood has realized that most of the children of the Baby Boomers are now over 17. I have a feeling that this film would have been cut back to a PG-13 if it were released last year. I'm glad it was a 2004 release. Funnier than Road Trip, Funnier than American Wedding, Funnier than Old School. Please, Hollywood, continue, give me a long wave of Comedies that aren't afraid of the "R".

But anyway, before the film, we saw trailers for two upcoming Ben Stiller movies. Starsky and Hutch, and Envy. The latter film, with Jack Black also starring, looks like fun, but I have a feeling that I saw all the funny bits of Starsky and Hutch in the trailer. But what struck me as strange is that Ben Stiller kills a horse in both movies, and both trailers show the scene where Stiller kills the horse.

Does Ben Stiller have a thing about killing horses? Did he spend his last hiatus at a Hollywood "Horse-Killing" camp, and now they have to write this into a few of his movies to justify the trip as a business expense? Is he doing it to impress his wife, Christine Taylor? Does she have some dark secret in her past involving a horse? When their kids have birthday parties and the pony arrives, will the kids run screaming because they think Daddy's going to kill it? Will the kids pin the tail on a real, live donkey?

I wonder if the PETA people have started harrassing Stiller yet.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Feeling Generous?
Send me something from my wish list!

Surprise me! Do it anonymously, or take credit for your generosity!
If you'd like perhaps I could send you a piece of my artwork in gratitude.
Then it's not so much like begging.
Sting of the Hornet!
So Kevin Smith is working on a Green Hornet Movie. The Internet is all abuzz with the news!
As somebody old enough to have watched Bruce Lee as Kato in the series original television run, I thought I'd share a little anecdote from my childhood... (this was previously posted over at

When I was little, we had one of those Aurora Model-motoring HO-scale slot car tracks (later became AFX), which only got set up around Christmas-time. Each year, "Santa" would put a new car in our stockings, and that would be the first thing us kids would open up. (we were allowed to open our stockings as soon as we woke up, but we had to wait for the whole family to wake up or arrive before we did any other gifts.)

In the weeks before Christmas, Mom and Dad would take us to Race-o-Rama hobby center, where they always had a window display with the new cars for the year running around a track.

I remember 1968, when they had Green Hornet's car, The Black Beauty, running around in the window. Dad asked me which one I liked. I pointed at The Black Beauty, "That One!"

"The Black One?" asked Dad, "Okay. Make sure you tell Santa."

On Christmas morning, i was disappointed. Apparently "The Black One" that Dad saw was a Batmobile.

I felt better in 1990, though, when i was able to sell that HO-Scale Batmobile for over $100 in a Comics Buyer's Guide ad.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Why? Really. Why?
I was strolling thru the supermarket aisle today, and I came across what is surely a sign of the coming apocalypse.
Or, if not the apocalypse, at least the next futile salvo in the Cola Wars.

Caffeine-Free Mt. Dew, and Caffeine-Free Dr. Pepper.

WHY? In what twisted California Shopping Mall are the marketing subjects so in-bred that they colored in the circle on their card next to "Hey, I'd buy this!".

Next to JOLT! Cola, these are the two Brands most recognized, and desired, for their Caffeine Content!

What? Did they talk to some Soccer-Mom waiting on the bench at the BMX track?

"Oh, My Boy Zachary can really kick out some Wild 360s, and he just learned how to pull off a Flying Wallie with a double Half-Doogie. But he tends to be jittery, and can't hold still enough to maintain a nose-stand. I wish I could put him on another kind of pill or something."

Mom, I got news for you. Get your boy laid, or give him some Pot. He'll calm down for you. Really. He won't get all paranoid like you and Dad used to if he knows the Pot comes from you. But whatever you do, don't try to Re-Do his Dew!

On another note, I'm really digging the White-Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I'm glad that they're going to be a regular item now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Steckler Family History Update!
I recently got some crucial info out of my Uncle Eddie, who is the oldest surviving member of my Branch of the Steckler Tree. I post it here for two reasons. I wish to further bore any readers who aren't family members with more details of my ancestry. I also hope that one or more of my distant relatives will hit on this blog if they happen to do a google search for their family history. If you think you are related to me, please, link thru to my web site and email me.

The earliest ancestor Uncle Eddie could recall was my Great-Great-Grandfather,
John Steckler, who was a blacksmith in Marietta, PA in the middle-1800s.
John lost an eye as a blacksmith, and later was known to be a Hotel and Saloon Keeper in Marietta.
He married Anna Resch and they had four children: George Henry, Margurite, Anna, and a son whose name is unknown.
(I 'm curious to find if this "unknown son" could be the Max Steckler my father recalls, who had an argument with his brother, and took his family west, never to be heard from again. I'd also like to know if this "max" is connected to the Max Steckler that I've connected to the defunct "Steckler's" Clothing store in Ashland Kentucky.)

It is not known if John Steckler was the Immigrant from Germany. But if he was, I'd assume he came in thru the port of Philadelphia, and left Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm I, but dates of birth and or Immigration are not known at this time. We know that the Stecklers were Catholic.

George Henry Steckler was my Great-Grandfather.
He was a silk mill worker in Columbia, PA before moving across the Susquehanna River to York, PA with
his family in the 1880s.
He worked as a loom-fixer at a silk mill in West York and in 1898 bought the store at 1501 W. Market St., and opened a Hardware business. (Edward R. would continue to run the business until selling it in the 1950s.) George Henry was married to Anna May Reineberg, Daughter of Jacob Reineberg Sr., and they had four children: Edward R., Antoinette, Mary, and Catherine.
(It is known that the Reineberg family was in Philadelphia in the Early 1800s and had moved to the Susquehanna Valley before the 1860s. Anna May told her grandson Eddie in the 1930s about watching the Yankees burn down the Wrightsville bridge over the Susquehanna during the Civil War, to keep the rebel army from advancing toward Philadelphia. Jacob Sr.'s wife was from the Wyanberg family of shoemakers in Philadelphia. Jacob started his own Shoe business, and passed it on to his sons Jacob junior and Cletus. The Reineberg Shoe store in York, PA is still owned by the family, but is strictly a retail operation today.)

George Henry Steckler also was a violinist, and he played in the orchestra of the Al Hambra Theater in York, Pa (once located where the Colonial Hotel is today) providing accompaniment for silent films.

Edward R. Steckler was my Grand-father, but he died more than a decade before I was born. His last known residence was at 825 Florida Ave, York, PA
He married Hannah Louise Sanders, and had four children: Edward, James, George S, and Susan. Hannah was the daughter of Albertus Sanders and Sarah (Behler), who resided at 663 W. Princess St. in York. Albertus was from York, while Sarah was from nearby Seven Valleys, PA. Hannah passed away in 1988.

Edward (Uncle Eddie) married Wilda, and they had one son, Bill (deceased), they are retired and now reside near Rehoboth Beach, DE

James (Uncle Jimmy) was maried and divorced while I was a toddler. His One son, Scott, now lives in Erie, PA. After his divorce, Uncle Jimmy lived with his mother at Florida Ave, until around his 50th Birthday, when he went on walkabout, and was found dead of heatstroke near Jackson Hole, WY, in 1983

Susan (Aunt Susie) married Charles Burnside, and had three sons, Christopher, Damian, and Nathaniel. The entire Burnside family runs MAPLE DONUTS, a business which Charlie and Susie have built from a single shop in the early 1960s into the largest independently owned Donut manufacturer in the U.S.

George Sanders Steckler is my Father. born Nov 7, 1935.
he was briefly married to Arla Mae (Liebhart), daughter of Fannie and Roy Earl Liebhart, who had a 180-acre farm at Long level, PA, near East Prospect, and over looking the Susquehanna south of Wrightsville, PA. George and Arla had a son, Anthony, who died as an infant. Soon after their divorce in 1962, Arla gave birth to Tiffany, but Arla's Boyfriend claimed paternity, and George did not contest it. Tiffany, However, upon reaching adulthood, bears a strong resemblance to the Steckler family.

On Sept 28, 1962, George married Reba Jeanne (League-Miller) and adopted her three children from her previous marriage: Darrell Leslie (b. May 15, 1956), Twila Jean (b. May 17, 1959), and Tamara Jane (b. Aug 20, 1960).
On July 10, 1963, I was born, Benjamin Tyrone Steckler at Memorial Osteopathic Hospital, York.

Darrell married his high-school sweetheart Susan Eileen (Young), daughter of Ken and Doris Young (both now deceased), on Sept. 16, 1978. They have two children: Zachary Ryan (b. Jan 6, 1988 in Reston, VA), and Kelly Elaine (b. Aug 28, 1993, in York). They reside in York.

Twila was married to Reuben Sanchez of Omaha, NE from 1980 until 1984. On Sept 8, 2001, she was wed to Marty Chacon, of Salt Lake City, UT, in Pocatello, ID. They reside in Idaho Falls, ID.

Tamara (Tammy) married Brian Earl Krebs of York, PA in 1982. They had one Daughter, Jennifer Lauren (b. Oct 5, 1985 in Hampton, VA) They divorced in 1997. Tamara returned to York with Jennifer and settled in nearby Dover in 1998.

I currently have no children and few prospects or desire to create any. Here endeth a bloodline.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

cool. those Two pieces of my work that I mentioned on my ebay post a couple days ago?
They have both sold for my Buy-It-Now price.
So, my portrait of Screaming Jay Hawkins from Get BenT! #7 is now on its way to a wall somewhere in California, and my tribute from Unshaven CHI #4, "Joey Ramone's Last Daze" will soon be going to a patron in British Columbia.
On top of my Pez Comic strip original selling last weekend, it's been a good week for me as an artist.

I've almost equalled what my unemployment check would have been for the week, if i was still eligible.

So. I've learned that dick and fartjokes sell good for me as mini-comics, but if i want to sell my originals, I should do one-page gags about Rock Stars and Collectibles.

I feel like a professional artist now, so I'm going to go get drunk and throw a tantrum.
Today is a Special Day
It's a day for remembrance of that special kind of Love that only Chicago could give. Today marks 75 years since the greatest achievement of America's Ceasar, Al Capone

You can learn more about romance if you drop by and "pay a little visit" to Gangland Chicago.

You really don't want to miss it. No, see, I'm telling you: You Do Not Want To Miss It, Capiche?

Thursday, February 12, 2004

BenT Investigates eBay!
I did some fun ebay searching today.
a keyword search for "useless crap" returned no items when I searched titles, but 438 items when I searched titles AND descriptions.

searching "grot" turned up 3 items by title, not surprisingly all in the UK, and 323 items by Title and Description.

"utter puke" brought up no items under either method, as did "barfo", which is odd for me, because I've bought stuff on eBay before that I've pulled up by searching for "barfo". (Those Topps' 'Barfo Family' candy dispensers.)

"stuff you can't afford" returned 605 items when I searched titles and descriptions.

"stuff you don't want" returned 32,645 items.

"tits" brings up no items, but "boobies" pulled up 40 under titles, and 158 items under titles and descriptions.

"wonderful masterpiece" pulled up 1 and 3044 items.

"piece of shit" gets no returns, but "piece of shite" returned 26 items when i search descriptions. Oddly, the majority of the items were for Barbies, kids clothes, and angel figurines.

"BenT" returns 46,105 items, and two of those are actually my work.

I don't know what this all means, other than there's really nothing but crap on TV tonight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I mentioned a few days ago the documentation of my Mother's family history. I got a copy of the genealogy tracing her Mother's side of it today. here are the details:

Edward Rackley was born on an unknown date in England. He arrived in America in 1639, and Died in 1663 in Essex County, Virginia, leaving one known son:
John Rackley I, who was born about 1650 in Essex County, and Died in 1698 in the same, leaving one known son;
John Rackley II, born around 1670 in Essex County, and died in Henrico County, VA in 1738, he left two sons: Anthony, and John III.

Anthony Rackley was born around 1700 in Essex County, Died after 1765 in Sampson County, NC. He left one son: Joshua
John Rackley III was born about 1695 in Essex County, Died in 1769 in Franklin Bute County, NC. He had one Daughter: Setevias

Joshua Rackley, birthdate unknown (died in 1813), married his cousin Setevias, birthdate also unknown, and they had eleven children including my ancestor, John Micajah.
so at this point my family became inbred. it's curious that the cousins that married both have left no birth records

John Micajah Rackley, born about 1758. Served in The Revolutionary War.
Moved to the Middle Tennessee area sometime between 1813 and 1818. Fathered 11 children by three wives. Died in White County,TN, May 27, 1839. My ancestor, Calvin, was born to John and his second wife, Elizabeth Stallings, around 1815 in either North Carolina or Tennessee.

Calvin Rackley, according to evidence, married Martha Fultz and had a daughter, Mary J. Rackley. In 1844 he reportedly sold his share of his father's inheritance to his brother, Ruffan, and left for the Indian territory, never to be heard from again. According to 1850 census data, John Micajah's widow, Mary Meggerson Rackley, had a Granddaughter, Mary J. Rackley living with her. It is believed that Martha died in childbirth, and Calvin left his daughter to be raised by his stepmother.

Mary J. Rackley , born in 1836, died Feb 25, 1917 in DeKalb County, TN. Married Green Berry Ford on Dec 2, 1852 in DeKalb County. Green Berry Ford enlisted in the Confederate Army in September of 1861, and was wounded at the battle of Fishing Creek, Kentucky, and returned home. The two had eight children. The fourth, Joseph Berry Ford, was my Great-Grandfather.

Joseph Berry Ford, born Dec 1, 1862 in DeKalb County, and died Nov 20, 1934 in the same. He married Emily Isabell Miller in 1889, and had 7 children, the youngest was my Grandmother, Zora Emily. My mother claims that her Grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee. while "Emily Isabell" does not sound like an Indian name, it's believed she took an English sounding name to avoid persecution living off the reservation.

Zora Emily Ford League Avaritt Shiflett, born Aug 20, 1904 in DeKalb County. Died in 1971 in DeKalb County. Had seven children by her first Husband, Asbury Edmund League. My Mother, Reba Jeanne, was the youngest child of this marriage. Zora remarried after Asbury's death, to William Avaritt, and had two more sons. She separated from Mr. Avaritt in the 1950s, and married Fred Shiflett . This is who was "GrandPa Fred" to me. Bill Avaritt survived into the 1980s and lived nearby me in Hanover, PA. He was known to us kids as "Uncle Bill".

Reba Jeanne (League, Miller) Steckler born Sep 5, 1933, in DeKalb County.
Married Morey Darrell Miller on Oct 16, 1955 in Bowling Green, OH, while employed at U.S. Rubber in Detroit. Had 3 children with Mr. Miller, Darrell Leslie (born May 15, 1956 in Detroit), Twila Jean (born May 17, 1959 in Parkersburg, WV), and Tamara Jane (Born Aug 20, 1960 in Parkersburg). Reba divorced Morey in 1961 and moved to York, PA to stay with her Sister, Edith. George Sanders Steckler was a young Sergeant, recently divorced, in the reserve unit of Edith's husband, Capt. Adrian L. Shaffer.
George and Reba (who goes by Jeanne) were introduced, and got married on Sept 28, 1962. George adopted Darrell, Twila and Tamara, giving them the surname Steckler. At 2:15 a.m. on July 10, 1963, Reba Jeanne gave birth to a 9lb, 13 oz, baby boy named Benjamin Tyrone Steckler. George got a vasectomy soon afterward.

So. I am Excited to find proof that an ancestor fought for the right side in The Revolutionary War.
So is my sister Tammy, whose daughter, Jennifer Lauren Krebs, graduates from High School this year.
I told her she should try for one of the many scholarships offered by the D.A.R.

I am also proud to note that now I know I have ancestors that fought on both sides of the Civil War.

I learned today that The first few generations of Rackleys, being Virginia Landowners, were slaveowners, but the largest number recorded was on the 1800 census, and it showed that Joshua owned only 12 slaves. All the Rackleys had freed or divested themselves of Slaves before the Civil war, according to the document i got today. I think the family caught "abolitionism" in the 1840s.

I have to check the documentation on the League ancestry. I'm told that the Leagues were staunch Methodists, and were strongly against slaveholding.

The Stecklers, on the other hand, were German Barons until the late 1800s, when my ancestor fled the Kaiser and came to America. They might not have had slaves, but I'm sure that there were serfs somewhere in that family history. I've sent a query to my oldest known relative on the Steckler side, to see if he has any info that Dad doesn't know.
I bet that Valentine's Day is perhaps the most universally despised "holiday" in blogspace.
All of us whiney, lonely souls, jealously sneering at the Happy Loving Couples making it look so easy.
"It's just a Holiday created by a greeting card company!" we shout at them!
They don't listen. They walk on by, not even listening to the crazy man screaming from the dungeon window.

The Day after Christmas, (the other Holiday i hate, but have to tolerate) I went to Wal-Mart to look for discounted candy. They were already putting up the Valentine's Candy displays.
Two Women in their mid-30s, one an obvious Soccer-Mom, the other, more of a Bridget Jones type, were already scanning the candies that were put out.
"Do you want a true opinion of this from a Man?" I asked them, trying not to make it sound like a pick-up line. They looked at me, one took a half step back, clutching her purse tighter.

"All This," I waved at the red hearts, "They only put it up now, so early, because they know that women will buy it for themselves, and eat it in secret all the way thru Valentine's Day."

"No man shops this early for a gift for his lover. We will wait. Starting around February 11th, we'll begin to cluster near this watering hole, testing, feeling the weights of the various foil hearts. Wondering if we've been good enough to the man in the boat this year to get away with the lighter one."

"The evening of the 13th, around 5:30, this aisle will look like one of those cartoon fight clouds, except the stars floating around it will be red hearts."

"That's how men shop for valentines. If these stores were really trying to sell this stuff to men, they'd wait until the week before the holiday to stock the shelf, and until then, they'd keep it seeded with fishing tackle and Swimsuit Calendars, and videos of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders."

"But no. They play upon your sentiments. They put it out now, knowing that you women will load up, even when you could go one aisle down and get Christmas Candy at Half-price!"

Soccer Mom spoke up then, "So what are you doing here now, Mr. Real Man?"

"I just stopped to see if they put out the jelly hearts I like. I don't have a Valentine, but I have to get my fix of those Jelly Hearts each year."

"There they are," said Bridget, pointing to a pile of Farley's bags on the shelf.

"No those aren't the ones I want. They have that sugar all over the outside. i want the plain ones.
The Ju-Ju Hearts."

" I guess I have to keep searching."

This Year Valentine's Day comes on a Saturday. There's that faint hope that I might could still meet somebody before the big night. I might "get Lucky" on the Friday Night before....

...wait. That's Friday The 13th. Dammit.

She was my Voodoo Queen, and She Stole my Ju-Ju Heart.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Goodbye Julie. I never met you, but I loved what you gave us.

Without one Man there'd be no Barry Allen FLASH. There'd be no Hal Jordan GREEN LANTERN. No Ray Palmer ATOM. No Justice League.
Heck, there probably wouldn't have been a Silver Age of Comic-Book Heroes. Even though He worked for D.C., without the success of the new stories helmed by Julius Schwarz, there would have been no drive at Marvel to publish new competing super-hero comics, and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby et al. would have gone down with their ship still churning out giant monster comics and westerns. I can't imagine my childhood without Spider-Man, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men. Indirectly, Julie Schwarz was even responsible for the great success of his competitors.

And Ambush Bug just would not have been as funny without that xeroxed caricature of Julie floating around.

It's not just comics that Julie influenced. He came to comics after a succesful career editing science fiction. Without Julius Scharz, we might never have read stories by Ray Bradbury and many others.

Rest in Peace, Julius Schwarz.

Mark Evanier has been running some great bio info on julie in his blog: news from me Go over there and learn.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

This was posted to the Zinegeeks group on Yahoo. Somebody asked if any of us knew anything about our ancestry. I thought it was a good blog piece. Or at least more interesting than telling y'all thatI sat around the house all day watching the DVDs for Lost in Translation and American Splendor

My Mom's Paternal family (League) were Scottish/Irish Immigrant farmers who
settled in the Tennessee foothills in the early 1800s. No major
landholders, they were peasant farmers really , right up thru the
depression. There is a distant cousin documented in My grandmother's family
bible (oneof those with all the family history hand-written in the flyleaves
and endpapers) as having signed up for "the wrong side" (Union) in the
Civil War.
My Mom's Mother was a Ford. She was a 5th cousin to Henry. Her Mother (my
great-grandmother) was a full-blooded Cherokee.

On Dad's side, I'm told the Stecklers were feudal barons in Germany until
the mid-to-late 19th century. The Family story goes that Kaiser Wilhelm
purged the nobles, and either my great-, or great-great Grandfather was
smuggled out of the country as a child. The Strathmeyers were our family
groundskeepers, they were allowed to emigrate, and brought my ancestor
with them out of Germany, posing as one of their children. Supposedly the
money they were paid for smuggling him was used to establish their forestry
business here in the U.S. (They are one of the largest growers of Christmas
trees in the State now)

Unfortunately, The Steckler Family has a history of deep blood-feuds
between siblings. I know that my Great-grandfather had a rift with his
brother Max, and Max took his young family and headed west at the turn of
the century, never to be heard from again by my branch of the family. (my
dad had a similar split with his sister in the 70s...they didn't move away,
but i still rarely see my Aunt, or my cousins)

In 1991, I was moving from Virginia to Ohio, and stopped in Ashland
Kentucky for a rest break. On the square downtown is a large abandoned
dept. store, with a huge neon sign out front that says "Steckler's". I
inquired around town, to see if maybe i had relatives, but the old owner of
the Drug Store across the street said, "No...They all left town soon after
ol' Max died." When i heard the name Max, i was going to whip out my ID,
and say i was related, but his next sentence was, "They were Jews..."
I quickly remembered that i was in Kentucky, and thanked him and left. I
do know that my dad has Jewish cousins, so I still think that I'm related
to that Kentucky branch.
I often see the name "Doug Steckler" in movie credits, and wonder if
it's a distant cousin. A part of Max's family that went all the way west.
Yes I also wonder about Ray Dennis Steckler, and the other Ben Steckler that
played for Michigan State a couple years ago.

I'd like to try and verify the story of how my dad's family got to
America, but now all of my Grandparent's generation are dead, and My dad's
generation aren't very clear on the story. I know that many European
immigrants of the late 1800s had "stories" of being royalty, and i wonder
if the story of the Barons Steckler was just a fairy tale used to give some
"status" to a young Immigrant businessman trying to get his store open (my
great-grandfather and grandfather were hardware store owners).

My Mom's family story is documented, but My Dad's family story isn't. i
think the feuding every generation or so might have prevented any

Friday, February 06, 2004

I initiall posted part of this over on a thread at Slushfactory, but i wanted to expand on it, and thought it would be a good Blog topic for the day.

Growing up, My Friend Carl always liked to be the Banker in Monopoly, and when he was getting low on cash in the game, he'd declare loudly: GENEROUS BANK!, and start handing everybody $500 bills.

Why can't Life be more like a game with Carl?

G.W. didn't go far enough with his tax rebates. He needs to put Carl in charge of the Fed.

i write this as the mailman comes, delivering my last unemployment check. I've exhausted even my extension, waiting for a better-than-retail, better-than-the pizza-shop job to come along. I'd like to get something worthy of my College education and Military Experience, but I've been out of that loop for over ten years.
I'm not desperate yet. I have a healthy IRS refund coming this week, and I've been doing a few hundred a month in ebay sales. So I'm okay into March. But i really need to get out there and find something soon.
I don't have an endless supply of stuff to sell on ebay, unless more people start buying my own creations.
Convention season is starting up, so I'll be going to shows again soon, about one a month.

I guess it's time to start practicing at the fryvat. Then my transformation into underground artist will be complete.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Why Am i Such a Smartass Sometimes?
Why, when a Housemate says something like, "If The Phone Rings, I'll Be in the Bathroom."

Why am I compelled to shout back, "Where will you be if the phone doesn't ring?" or, "Okay, I'll alert the Media!"

I gotta think it gets tiresome, and it's probably one of the reasons Old Friends don't keep in touch with me.
But I can't stop myself.

And i really don't want to stop it, either. I think having a quick wit like that helps me keep my comics funny, and i wouldn't want to lose it. But I know it has to annoy people that are around me too long.

Maybe Dad didn't smack me around enough for having a smart mouth when i was a kid. Heck, Dad did just the opposite. He encouraged it by laughing.

The School bullies tried to discourage me.

Maybe now i do it just to spite those kids that pounded me for making smart-ass remarks. Yeah. That's it.

Fuck 'em.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Athens, GA: Outside In
My 36 Hours in Hipsville South for FLUKE

Well I took off Friday morning around 8 am for the first grand road trip experiment of 2004. Destination Athens, GA, land of a thousand bands (it seems), to expose myself artistically to the South East at the mini-comics event known as FLUKE. FLUKE doesn't really stand for anything, although Festival of Largely Unmarketable Kinds of Entertainment was suggested at one point in its genesis a couple years ago.

I had an 11-hour drive to get there, but that went smoothly. The CD player was my traveling companion, and it was loaded with The BoomTown Rats' A Tonic for the Troops, Jon Spencer's Plastic Fang, The new disc from JET, a 2-disc live Stray Cats collection, and also faves from BLONDIE, DEVO, QUEEN, The SPECIALS, Guadalcanal Diary, The Fleshtones, Graham Parker, The Donnas, Southern CUlture on he Skids, and many more. With plenty of happy, peppy tunes, a cooler full of Mountain Dew Code Red, some Combos, some Goetz' Caramel Creams, and some Twizzler Bites, I was set for the trip.

I was humming Screaming Jay Hawkin's version of "I Love Paris" as i hit the highway, because the mini-comic I'd be debuting at the show was my I LUV PARIS which adapted her infamous night-vision internet phenom into a comics parody. I'd made a limited edition of 50 copies for the show, with silk-screen covers. I was determined to make back some of the money I'd spent on eye medicine in November and December. You might not know it, but what made my UVEITIS flare up in the left eye back in November was straining to see enough detail in that video clip to draw the parody. That stuff took six weeks to heal.
I'd also printed up a fresh batch of my Chick Tract parody trilogy, and the set of f-ARTjoke minis. I'm glad I did, because the dick and fart jokes kept their streak alive, and outsold all my other material.

I rolled in to Athens around 8:00 P.M., got checked into the cheapest motel i could find, and went off to locate the Tight Pockets zine hangout/event space, where a pre-show party had been organized. I found the location, then found a six-pack shop and got myself some Mike's Hard Lemonade, and enjoyed the performances by We Versus The Shark, a second band i can't remember the name of, and ELF Power.
Elf Power are very impressive punk-pop.
At first the only person at the party I recognized was todd bak, and i felt somewhat like a chaperone in this place, where the average kid was 19 years my junior. But I spotted an issue of Carrie McNinch's FOOD GEEK on the zine table, and pointed out the page I'd contributed, and that was something of an Ice Breaker. I met a nice, talkative punk girl named Cat, and we had some conversation. I also had the thrill of chatting with a zinester who originally hailed from Annapolis, but was doing some kind of activist work in Athens. He assumed that I was also an activist and asked if I had been to the anti-war actions in York, PA. I steered the conversation toward a safer topic, York's Former Mayor and Murder Defendant Charlie Robertson, and people who got arrested for punching police horses during the last anti-racism rally in my lovely Downtown. Then the bands started playing, and it was too loud to talk, so I was rescued.

Then i got a surprise as Missy Kulik, a fellow Pennsylvanian mini-comics artisan entered the gig. I didn't know that she'd moved down to Athens. We got caught up on our mutual zine aquaintances, she told me about the mini she'd just collaborated on with John Porcellino (which I picked up a copy of on Saturday), and i shared some of the Misun and John items tht have been discussed on the Small Diary yahoo group.
Then we watched Elf Power's set. After a few songs, I was feeling beat, though, and headed back to my Hotel for the night.

Saturday began with me watching a Rhythmic Gymnastics competition on The Oxygen network in the Hotel. To me, Rhythmic Gymnastics can be very erotic. Especially the routines with the ball. If they knew the reaction I have when i catch this on TV, they wouldn't be carryiong it on the Oxygen Network. They'd put it on Spike TV.
Then I put together my kit for the show, and headed into town. On the way, I passed by the world famous The Varsity Diner. I'd seen them featured on a PBS documentary about Hotdogs, so I thought I'd get my breakfast/lunch there. I had one of their chili-cheese dogs and a "Co-Cola". It didn't really live up to the hype, but maybe it's because it was just after opening on a non-football Saturday, so the place wasn't hopping with it's much-touted atmosphere. I still saved my paper plate as a souvenir.
I wandered around town, snapped some tourist photos, took some pics of odd signs I noticed, and felt the need for a bathroom, but i still had about 45 minutes before i could get into Tasty World for the comic show, so i stopped at The Diner on College, and used the facilities, and also had some Orange Juice and Grits. Yes. I had breakfast after I had lunch. So I'm screwed up. Bite me.
I recognized my busboy as a member of We Versus The Shark from the night before. I think everybody in Athens is either making art or in a band, and they all have dayjobs in the service industry, or in retail.
Athens would be a cool place to live, but I bet it's hard to find a job there that pays a living wage. I heard some folk over the weekend discussing how they enjoyed their jobs, despite that they only made $6.50 an hour. I'm sure the steady influx of college students and artists/musicians looking for a break provides a very deep pool of wage slaves from which employers may choose. In other words, Athens doesn't need a Wal-Mart to keep wages low. Maybe I'm offbase. I shouldn't base my opinion of the town's economy on a couple over-heard conversations among punks.

The actual FLUKE comics show was fun. I saw bak, and Sam Henderson, Erica Merchant and Jeff Mason, and Missy Kulik, and Drew Weing all again, and finally met in person many folk who i only knew as message board posters at Finally I had faces to associate with the names Robert Newsome, Patrick Dean, Devlin Thompson, J. Chris Campbell, and Justin Colloussey Estes. I also met Klon Waldrip, whose crazy minis blew my mind a couple years ago when i first saw them. This guy is the Hillbilly answer to Johnny Ryan. Really funny, but extremely sick, humor. Then i see him holding his new baby, and he's just a normal guy.

I met several other comics folk from the area, and overall, had a nicely profitable show. I'll be posting my pics later tonight at the FLUKE page on my site.
Saturday Night was the Fluke Afterparty at Tasty World. The Trapeze Tarts got things going with a sexy, yet tasteful, trapeze performance. What i said earlier about Rhythmic Gymnastics goes double here.
Next up was a 3-piece band called The Bent. For a minute, when i saw this name on the poster, I wondered if they expected me to perform. They were good, led by a cute seet girl who reminded me of a young Kelly Deal. Next up was Madeleine and The Beats. This was their first show together as a band, but they were tight, and kept the crowd pumped. I was told Madeleine is a local star already, having been a member of a defunct popular group called The SugarShakers.
The headliner was The Carrie Nations. Wow. Infectious Onstage Energy out the Wa-ZOO. They steamed up the windows of the joint, and had the whole place jumping around and doffing layer after layer of clothing. I'd estimate a snall crowd of about 20 fans actually spent the whole set dancing up on the stage in the middle of the band. I was impressed with the group, and had to go pick up their vinyl.
They really got the crowd excited, and before we knew it it was 2 a.m., and the club had to close up. I probably could have had myself a one-night-stand if I'd wanted, there was more than one girl whom I'd been chatting with thru the night, and a couple of them inquired if I'd be sticking around town for the night.
But I'm stupid, and wasn't going to try my luck. I really wanted to get at least six hours sleep before I had to hit the road in the morning. Oh man. I'd rather plan ahead for an 11 hour drive home than spend
a few minutes, uh, hours, of ecstacy with a perky, smart southern-belle blond named Stephanie. Maybe I really ought to open up those e-mails I've been getting about Viagra.

go to my site for the pics! and Go to Bizarro Wuxtry at 225 College Avenue in Athens if you didn't get my books while i was in town. They are now the best place in the South to find my work! --BenT

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ahh. The third day in a row that we've had to clean ice and snow off the cars before doing anything.
I just got a otice of a meteorologist job in Puerto Rico that's open again. All this snow makes me eager to apply. I will learn Spanish in exchange for warmer winters anyday.

Being Unemployed (or Underemployed) ain't all that bad, though. Especially around tax Time. I just filed my State and Federal returns, and I'm eligible for more in returns than i paid in taxes this year. That is genuine George W. Bush Magic at work! If anybody tries to tell me "It's the Economy, Stupid!" come election time, Guess which way I'd vote?

I saw a matinee of The Cooler yesterday. Great Film all around. This is the best Alec Baldwin performance since The HUnt for Red October. William H. Macy is again really good. He is consistently impressive. Maria Bello. yum.

Gotta go. Time to make dinner.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

So once there was this storm system.
The Storm of the Century, they called it.
Thanks to the wonders of modern meteorology, luckily, nobody was caught off-guard by the storm, but still its impact was staggering as it made its path across the United States.
As it went thru the major agricultural states of the plains, and lower MidWest, it generated tremendous updrafts, lifting entire farms into it's belly.
A Flour Mill in Kansas, Whoosh! Gone.
A dairy farm in Tennessee. Swept away.
65% of the egg-production capability of a small town in Ohio was lost when a poultry farm was sucked up.

The storm swept onward, across Pennsylvania and into New York and New England, dropping record amounts of precipitation on the region.
Headlines in all the papers afterward read the same:

Monster Storm System Batters Northeast!

Friday, January 23, 2004

YeeHaw! NASCAR Season Starts up This Weekend, Ain'T?
This strange ritual of watching people drive in circles is one more reason for me to feel intellectually superior to 97% of the residents of my county. I don't get it. One of the main attractions is the crashes right? Yet Heaven forbid a driver people like gets injured or killed in a crash.

3/4 of NASCAR fandom have somehow canonized Dale Earnhardt, Sr. I believe his first miracle was driving in a circle. The Second miracle of Dale was stopping a really fast car with nothing but his right foot.
The Third Miracle of Dale involved causing wine to spew forth on the masses gathered within a fabled "Winner's Circle". The other 1/4 of Nascar fandom have performed their own miracle. They have made an unlicensed character produce water simply by placing the number 3 next to it.

NASCAR. A Bunch of hicks driving in a continuous Left Turn, and not a one of them uses the left turn signal. Ironic isn't it? You put a bunch of Hicks on a long, straight stretch of Highway, and you can't get them to turn the damned left turn signal OFF!

So I started thinking about this while seeing the ads for the upcoming "SUBWAY 400" event. THis struck me as strange. Sure, Subway shops have spread faster than Starbucks outlets, particularly in the locales that have strong NASCAR fanbases. But does anybody care about NASCAR in cities where there actually is a real subway?
"Subway" sponsoring a NASCAR event is also ironic in that Auto Racing began as a competition between auto-makers, to determine who could build the better cars. Thus Auto-racing became a way to boost automobile sales, and get more cars on the roads, causing more traffic. The subway, however, was introduced to reduce the number of cars on the road, and provide relief from traffic.

It's all silly, just as is this entry. I guess I'll just never be a gearhead.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Have you seen the new Black & White M&Ms yet?

Of course you have. I first spotted these while i was doing the last rounds of my Christmas shopping, and bought a few bags. I'm tempted to play Go or Othello with 'em.

I bet Steve Ditko would love them. (That's a joke about his worldview concerning good & evil as stark absolutes, with no shades of gray.)

You could tell fortunes with 'em, or play a kind of "She loves me, She Loves me Not". Just pick a yes-or-no question you want answered, or a decision you need to make, and let the color of the last M&M in the bag be your guide. White for yes, Black for No, or vice versa if you would feel ethnic guilt associating black with a negative.

I even like the commercial for these. The one where Dorothy Gale wakes up at the end of "The Wizard of Oz", and all the M&M characters are in her bedroom, in Black & White. "...Oh Aunt M (funny funny!), i had the strangest dream, and you were there, and you , and you, abd you were all in color!..."

I almost did a spit-take the first time i saw it, when she called the one "Aunt M".

But last week I went to a movie, and had a pack of these in my pocket.

I was sitting in the theater munching on the M&Ms, when it hit me. Sitting there in the dark, eating my Black and White M&Ms, I realized that they taste the same as the colored ones. They'd also taste the same if they were in shades of gray. The flavor's not in the shell or the color. It's the chocolate and/or the peanut or peanut butter inside! That's what really matters.

I wondered if blind people care what color their M&Ms are. I wonder if anybody that ever did concert prep for Van Halen, and had to provide those bowls of M&Ms with all the orange, yellow, and brown ones removed, ever considered saving those unwanted candies for the next Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder concert. To a blind person, I bet all the M&Ms taste the same, except for that occasional one with a rotten peanut.

M&Ms aren't Skittles, after all. With Skittles, you can taste the rainbow. Blind people can taste the different skittles. Even the monochrome mint skittles, that are all different shades of blue, or green, have a subtle taste difference for each shade.

if they wanted to do Black & White Skittles, they'd have to take the flavors out, too. Maybe they could make the skittles Licorice and Vanilla for a limited time. Mmmm.

I wonder what Deaf and blind people think of Black and White M&Ms. Maybe they should explore a way to make the different colors of M&Ms make different sounds when you crunch them. They could vary the thickness of the shell, maybe. Or they could put that fizzpowder into the coating. It'd be funny if they could have random M&Ms make a fart noise when you bit them. Or a Howler Monkey or Kookaburra call.
Or the sounds of light sabers. George Lucas should have his FX wizards get to work now devising a way to make the M&Ms provide the sound effects for the next Star Wars film.

That would really show up those folks at Hershey. M&M/Mars could finally make up for letting Reese's Pieces be "E.T.'s Favorite Candy"

Yeah. That would be SWEET.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

So, will this be the year I finally send something in for the SPX anthology? I've been attending this convention for Small Press Comics artists since 1996, but I've never got around to submitting to their anthology. They have a theme this year of WAR.
That raises questions right away.
Do i do a pro-War Piece, and get ostracized by all the liberals in the arts community?
Do I presume that the editor is anti-war, and tailor my submission to try and get in the editor's graces?
Do I try and do a piece that has no tie to any current War situation, and avoid controversy?
Do i just say fuck-all! Damn The Torpedoes! and tell the story i want to, no matter its slant?

I'm probably leanig toward the last option. I have some ideas, but I don't know what kind of tone I'll take yet. Well, i have until June to work on it.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Sunday Snow.
falling, floating. blanket of white.
fog and rime on my window.
warm in here.
cold out there.
Falling pretty thick now.
It'd be pointless to shovel before the Game starts.
heh heh heh.

Once Again, it's MLK-Day Weekend, and it's snowing in PA. Racist's Delight. Nature making everything Whiter for MLK day. Did Somebody forget to send the memo to Gaea's Office?

We always get snow this weekend, and it's always more than the TV Weatherguy predicts. 1-2 inches they said. we had that much at lunchtime. We got that much last evening, but it changed over to rain overnight, and back to Snow around 10:30 this morning. Big Accreted flakes, falling straight down, with no wind.

I can tell it's been falling straight down without looking at the falling flakes. We have a 41-yr-old Maple Tree in our front yard, with large sprawling branches. There's a star pattern around the base of this tree, where the snow isn't as thick. When I first saw it today, I thought it was squirrel tracks, but then i noticed that the pattern has a spoke positioned directly under each branch of the tree. It's a snow shadow. Cool, in more ways than one.

We've already had one brief power interruption today, and it caused my system to reboot in mid-message, so I'm going to keep it short and power-down, and just enjoy football today.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I started a new project today. I'm going through all my CDs, playing them in RealPlayer, and saving my favorite tracks, if any into my Library. I figure if I do at least 3 CDs a day, I can get through my collection within a year. But the big question is, will I have enough room on my Drive to do it? Well, if alot of my collection is like the stuff I'm listening to today. Yeah.
I have a lot of records that were sent to me for review from 1995 thru 2000, or so, when I was doing the occasional reviews in my zines. But boy, do you get sent a lot of crap when you do reviews. Many of these records I filed away, and haven't listened to them since I reviewed them. I also have a lot of discs that I bought myself, and only listened to once or twice. Maybe I wanted a song for a mixtape or something, but thought the rest of the disc was crap (CIV comes to mind here.)

4 Non Blondes is a group in the latter category. I think i ordered this to fulfill a BMG music service requirement. Hey, I liked their song "What's Up?" I even remember seeing a few strippers dance to it back in the early 90s. Hence this song has lots of great memories associated with it. But there are maybe two other tracks on the disc that I would be bothered to want to listen to again. So why don't I load them on the 'puter, and open up a slot on my CD rack?
22 Jacks is a band in the former category. They were pulled along in the wake of Reel Big Fish, and Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and Blink 182, and the rest of the Vans Warped Tour. I used to get alot of discs like this from SIDE1Dummy records. Well, they did get better on the second record they sent me. While i didn't find anything on the first release ("Overserved") that I wanted to save, I am enjoying some of the tracks on the second disc of theirs that i have. ("Going North")
I don't know. Maybe I just looked at this wall of my room literally full of CDs and tapes and albums, and decided I should work towards living more portably. Maybe I won't have the luxury of Mom and Dad's basement forever. Maybe a job offer will come thru that requires me to move to Nevada. A move to another state nearby i could do easily. I could move my stuff in just a few trips. But a move more than halfway across the country would require some drastic parting of me and my stuff. i am a packrat by nature, and i have too many collections.
So. The CDs must be culled. That's the easy part. then i have to tackle the videotapes, Pez Dispensers, Candy tins, happy meal prizes, T-Shirts, sheet music, lunchboxes, action figures, DVDs, and Comic books.
Or i could go the easier route, and just buy a trailer now. Then when it's time to move, I can just hitch my house to the back of the car.
I hear it's easier to pick up lonely divorcees in a trailer, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Apprentice disgusts me. I sincerely hope that at some point in the show one of the losers will get mad and reach across the table and rip off Donald Trump's atrocious toupee. Why can't Trump afford a more Natural-Looking hairpiece? Somebody should venture that guy the capital to go down to Baltimore and visit Mr. Larry for a weave. Don't try to tell me it's not a hairpiece, either. There's no way a guy that wealthy would continue to patronize any barber or stylist that incompetent. Or is the secret to Trump's fortune that he does his own hair with a Flowbee?

So anyway, after a rather unsatiiiiiisfying episode of Friends tonight, I switched over to PBS and caught a documentary produced in Philly called Things That Aren't There Anymore. It was nostalgia for places like Connie Mack Stadium, and Willow Grove Amusement Park, and The Steel Pier, and Horn & Hardart, and Gimbel's etc.

It got me thinking about things from my own time that aren't there anymore. I can remember The Steel Pier in Atlantic City, too. But what I miss from old Atlantic City are Taber's Toys, The Planter's Peanut Store, and The Abracadabra Magic Shop. But I'm not going to wax nostalgic for those places, which I only visited twice while growing up. There are plenty of places here in my hometown of York, PA that aren't there anymore.

Wiiliam's Field was two little league baseball diamonds, tucked off of Roosevelt Avenue on the extreme western edge of York City, behind the Sylvania plant and the S&H Green Stamp Outlet, and The Acme Grocery Store. Those buildings are still there, But Sylvania is now OSRAM, The S&H store is now a Goodwill Outlet, and the Acme is now a drycleaner and a Runkle's Notary, Tag and Title service. But that magic place behind the buildings has been taken over by the quarry, and now houses an ash recycling facility whose tremendous mound of ash threatens the air quality of our neighborhood, and has become a bone of contention in recent elections.

Jacob L. Devers Elementary school, nestled snugly among the homes of York's Fireside and Continental Homes neighborhoods, was a benchmark for educational standards in the post-Eisenhour era. Many of the city's best and brightest students spent their K-5, or 6 years there. It had a paved playground that covered half an acre, adjoining a grass field with kickball/softball diamond that spread over another two thirds of an acre. As a 2nd grader, I can remember feeling tired by the time we trekked all the way out to the ball field, and then they expected us to play, too?
Once, at a recess back in 1969, a game of Comahead (similar to Bull Rush) got out of hand, and I got pushed head first into the brickwall of the schoolbuilding. The gash in my head required stitches, and I left my DNA sample on the pavement of the playground, right there by the corner of the library. For years, well into the mid-1990s, I could visit that spot on the playground and still pick out two small spots in the pavement where the stones were still colored red from my blood. But now they've expanded the classroom facilities, and the old paved playground has now been covered with new building. My marker has been dug up, and a patch of grass is planted there. That big ballfield has been cut back toless than half its old grandeur, to allow room for safe playground structures. I really don't feel a tie to this school anymore.
Another thing that isn't there anymore is the old empty field where all us neighborhood kids played. It stood on the south side of route 30, right on the edge of town, between Lancer Lane and Fairlane Dr. Much of the dirt excavated from the foundations of the Fireside neighborhood had been dumped in mounds on this field, and by the time I was old enough to ride a bike, these mounds had grown solid with brush and wild grasses, and some really cool bike trails wound all around the field, up and down the multiple hillocks. Often the boxes from large appliances installed in the Booming area of homes ended up in this field, the stuff of which many battleforts and clubhouses were made. Take a run across Fairlane to the dumpster behind Stan Stackhouse carpets, and you could find remnants to keep the dirt off your butt, and if you were lucky, you might get a big long cardboard tube that could become robot arms, or the muzzle of a tank, or what have you. Even the older kids enjoyed that field, if later at night, when the bushes along the Highway offered seclusion for making out.
Stan Stackhouse is still there, but in the 1980s somebody first graded the field flat and planted corn in that field for a few seasons. Then in 1985 they built a couple stripmalls, A Bob's Big Boy, and a KFC there.
Bob's is now a LoneStar Steakhouse, and most of the storefronts of the strip malls are on their third generation of tenants already.
Until a month ago i wondered where the kids in this neighborhood today went to make out. We found out on a snowy Sunday Morning in Early December. We were awakened by the Fire Engines. Apparently one of the abandoned homes on our street had become a party house, where teenagers were breaking in and meeting to drink, do drugs, and make out. It seems the kids got cold, and built a fire in the old abandoned fireplace, and left it smoldering after the party ended. At least we got our street plowed early so that the Fire Engines could get in, but that's one more place that isn't there anymore.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

My New Year's Resolution is to try to post to this blog every day....Damn!

I am Back. If the setting changes worked this blog is now titled "The Secret Life of Nobody Famous, Dammit!"

If not, It's still "What Goes on in My Mind". Why the change? Well, I'm more like Walter Mitty than Lou Reed, and I wanted to also bring the title of this space more in synch with my website.

I've been away for awhile, trying to limit my time on-line each day while i nursed my left eye back to health. The sore eye also kept me from drawing many new comics.
If I spent too long staring at a white piece of paper, or a monitor my eye would get red and inflamed, and go all out of focus on me.

Have you ever seen MonsterBoy? With that big inflamed eyeball? that was me.

I'm going to start spewing random thoughts here to get caught up since it's been almost two months since I posted here.

The Movie PAYCHECK was a fun ride, but the internal logic was all fucked-up, as it seems to always end up anytime Hollywood tries to adapt Philip K. Dick.
Let's face it. Hollywood can't adapt DICK.

..and what's with all the scar tissue on Uma Thurman's left cheek? The One on her face, people. I might have liked the movie better if they gave us that close a look at her other left cheek.

BIG FISH, on the other hand, was incredible. This is definitely the best Tim Burton film to date. A wonderful film, full of wondrous characters, that almost made me cry at the end. Unlike other Burton films with "fantastic" characters, the ones here aren't overbearing and forced like Nicholson's Joker, or DeVito's Penguin, or PeeWee Herman, or Beetlejuice. In Big Fish, the Giant, the Loup G'Arou, the Mermaid, the Siamese Twins, etc. all have a certain endearing charm, more like Edward Scissorhands. Watching Burton's earlier films, i'd often feel that Tim had been traumatized at the circus as a child. If that's the case, this is a more mature Tim Burton who has had therapy to get over those childhood fears. The result is a sublime film.

Allison Lohman is perfect as a younger Jessica Lange, too. I'd do her. Both of them.

I'm listening to a playlist I made on RealPlayer now of Driving tunes. My nephew just turned 16, and I wanted to give him an appropriate mixdisc, and i still have the tunes grouped on file, and I'm replaying them now. "Brand New Cadillac" by Wayne Hancock is playing now. mmmmm. also just heard "VooDoo Cadillac" by Southern Culture on the Skids. I kinda did a "cadillac" set. I have to start loading in all my Halloween and Monster songs. it would make compiling the next few "Howl-O-Ween" mixes alot easier.

Madness are doing "Driving in My Car" now. Okay. I put some silly stuff on the list, too.

I'm gonna log out now, I'd like to get some work done on my site tonite while i still have the eyes.