Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Early Space Exploration!

Here's some of my favorite space-related stuff when I was a kid.

FIRST AND BEST OF ALL! THE VIEWMASTER! I was fascinated by my Viewmaster, and I loved peeking into the 3-D worlds inside. While not directly related to space exploration, there were lots of Viewmaster reels about rockets and space, and I assumed every astronaut had a Viewmaster. Buying a new Viewmaster reel was an extremely exciting event. (Here's an interesting article about the Viewmaster. And, one about sculptor Florence Thomas.)

ONE OF MY FAVORITE VIEWMASTER IMAGES, FROM HUCKLEBERRY HOUND LANDS ON THE MOON I would still like to go to the "New Moon Drive-In."*
The Flying Saucer (photo courtesy of the Online Exhibits at the Archives of Ontario**)
Food Sticks--Mystery of the Astronauts! (chocolate not peanut butter)

The Monkey in the Rocket!
PlayPlax that I Used to Build My Super-Modern Moon House!
Kerplunk! Somehow, I always associated the shape of this with a rocket. 
Up Next: More toys.

*Image courtesy of Hanna-Barbera.

**It's time for my annual celebration of the Internet Archive, home of quite a bit of footage from the wonderful Prelinger Archives.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Obama is More Like Reagan Than Lincoln(?)

Some people dig the Ronald Reagan. Others find the Ronald Reagan to be a figure of fun.

Me? I just report the news that's fit to print from the sources that see fit to print it.

A writer for Newsweek says: "Everybody in the capital is comparing Obama to Abraham Lincoln. But the more recent—and illuminating—comparison is Ronald Reagan."

I don't claim that when a writer from Newsweek says "Jump!" I yell, "Sir! How high, sir?!"

But, the article got me thinking. Maybe they're both kinda unify-y and communicate-y, but what on earth else? 'cause many good girls and boys appear to be freaking out and muttering things about "lib-rals"--it's never good when they leave out the middle syllable--destroying the country and thinking longingly of the Reagan good times. Maybe it would help them if I found some parallels?

Buckle up. Here we go.

So, everybody knows that Obama has smoked a cigarette or two. Reagan, in contrast, was not a smoker, and-- Well, holy cow. Okaaaaaaay. And, speaking of cows, Reagan was very identified with cowboys, and lord knows Obama wouldn't wear a--
Skip it. Anyhow, one thing's for sure. Think about those recent shirtless pictures of Obama. Reagan would never be caught dead without--
HOLY MOLEY! Sorry. Didn't expect to see that. As long as we're "going there," I might as well sidetrack and share this strangely "Field and Stream Playmate Centerfold" image of Putin.Whoa...Putin! Tuck your rod away and be putin' on some more clothes! Heh. Uh. Heh. Okay. Not funny. Let's move on.
One thing I know and like about both men: Doodlers. So, that's a draw.
And, both could be described as ballsy by their athletic supporters.I'm sure there's other stuff (uh, both men spent formative years in places beginning with "H"?), but I gotta call this a wrap. I guess that on this historic day of history, what I'm struck by is:

1) It works best to take the measure of a president after he has been in office and has served the country--until then, all you can talk about is cigarettes and doodles, doodles and cigarettes!
2) I really can't wait 'til Joe Biden--bless his impulse-control-deficient heart--says something off-the-wall! Will he? Won't he? How long will it be until he does?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Important Medical Alert and Martha Stewart Visits!

IMPORTANT MEDICAL ALERT
If you feel a little blurry and weak, ask a friend to bring you a soft cloth STAT; it might just be "The Shipping Haze." MARTHA STEWART VISITS!
Okay, so I'm lying. But some day, so help me Darwin, I will open "Martha Stewart Living" and right next to "Refrigerate salad plates," I will read, "A cheerfully mismatched collection of brightly colored vases filled with small plastic dinosaurs can delight and surprise your guests." (Note: If you look at the yellow vase dinosaur, he is clearly saying: "Whaddya whaddya?" If you look at the blue vase dinosaur, he has clearly just told a dirty joke. And, if you look at the green vase dinosaur, he is clearly wondering what the hell is happening.)
Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Drago: “She’s a flop. A has been. Ran out of dinosaur ideas back in October ’07. Did you hear about the robots?”
Bertie: “No. What about them?"
Drago: "They got tired of waiting for her big, stinkin’ brain to come up with a new idea and got a new gig.”
Bertie: “What are they doing now?
Drago: “I dunno. They’re like aquarium decorations or somethin’.”
Bertie: “Man, she’s really pitiful, huh?”
Sparkle: “Hi, hi! I’ll be coming up with a new story line for you any day now, and—hey! What was that? Did you just roll your eyes?”
Bertie: “No, no. Not at all.”
Drago: "Gnurrrrr."
Sparkle: “You just did it again! Quit it!”

Today's Guest Symbolic Gesture is...The Eye Roll!"Eyes raised upward, often accompanied by an audible 'tut' is a common sign expressing condescension, boredom, or exasperation."

True Fact: An audible "tut" can be crushing. Beware the audible "tut."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Hottest Fellows No Longer Alive

Dear Mr. Cary Grant,
You. Yes, you, my sleek-haired, tweedy idol. You know how I've always loved you beyond the grave. NO! Not in an icky way--stop doing that adorable, wide-eyed double-take in alarm--in a worshipping-your-memory way. You, sir, are the hottest fellow no longer alive. What is there not to love about you? You were suave, debonair, witty, and you could do double takes and pratfalls like no other similarly sophisticated man about town. Your movies! Ah! Your movies! And, y'know, just you:
Anyhoo, I'm just dropping a note to let you know that you've got to move over and share my unwavering devotion with him:
Yes, him--no, not Kennedy although he's just dandy, the other guy:Cary, that is Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, and while I didn't think about him very much until last week when his death was announced, I frickin' worship the man. Here, let me take you back to the day when I first fell in love with Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island (and didn't even know him).

THE SCENE: A FINANCIAL AID OFFICE AT A COLLEGE, LONG AGO AND FAR, FAR AWAY
THE PLAYERS: A FINANCIAL AID COUNSELOR AND SPARKLE, WHO IS PAYING AND WORKING HER OWN WAY THROUGH SCHOOL. SPARKLE LOOKS VERY PALE.


Financial Aid Counselor: "So, you can take out these loans, and this is when you'll need to pay it all back by."
Sparkle (thinks to self "That year is incredibly far away and that there is a huge wagonload of money to owe."): "Okay."
Financial Aid Counselor (starts throwing forms and pens around wildly, trusses Sparkle up in red tape like a Thanksgiving turkey)
Sparkle: "And I sign here and here? And you need some blood, too? How much blood? Should I eat some crackers or something first?"
Financial Aid Counselor: "MWAH HA HA HA HA!"
Sparkle: "Aiiiiieee!"
And then...amidst all of the getting-myself-into-debt carnage, this happened.
Financial Aid Counselor: "OH!"
Sparkle: "What what?"
Financial Aid Counselor: "You are very much eligible for a Pell grant."
Sparkle: "Swell. Where do I sign, and which organ would you like this time?"
Financial Aid Counselor: "You need not pay the Pell grant back. It's a grant."
Sparkle: "You want my child? I need to hit the streets? What's the catch?"
Financial Aid Counselor: "No, no, no, no. You will just get that money."

CARY! I DID "just get that money" and I did NOT need to pay the Pell grants back!!! You, as a once-impoverished former street performer, will appreciate this. And, I had no idea that Pell grants were named for a real person. Shame on me. But, let's focus now: Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island is now tied with you as the hottest fellow no longer alive. Like you, he was quiet, thoughtful, and polite to a fault. And like you, he was a bit quirky: He liked to jog in a tweed coat and he was fascinated with UFOs and extra sensory perception. And, for the serious stuff, he is "best remembered for his devotion to education, maritime, and foreign affairs issues." Maritime and foreign affairs! There's something you-ish about that--Father Goose, An Affair to Remember...

Ooh! Sorry, I got a little dreamy-eyed there. Point is: I'm kicking myself for failing to write Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island a thank you letter while he was still alive. I should have. I'm hoping that some of the other 54 million people he helped go to college did, but if not I hope he knew what a huge difference it made to us--or at least to me.

Love,
Sparkle

Any Gun Can Play!