Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another Nude Rear

Looking at Lisa's Happy Nude Rear card got me thinking about my favorite picture of her, which is also a picture of her nude rear. I did this the first time I met her, at a life drawing workshop that she not only posed at but put together as well. All told there were four models there that day, but Lisa was my favorite.

I like this picture so much I've had t-shirts made with it emblazoned on the back. This picture is erasure on charcoal-coated drawing paper.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Nude Rear 2007

Lisa is one of my favorite models. Not only does she have a stunning body, but she's just a whole heck of a lot of fun. Every year she does a New Years greeting card wishing everyone a Happy Nude Rear.

Here is this year's card. Enjoy!

And this year's message from Nude Lisa, the NudeL!

Greetings Everyone!

Some of you are already aware and others will have their first experience. This is my 6th Annual Holiday homemade greeting card. It was first born out of desperation to send my friends something, even though I was cash poor at the time.

Turns out the joke of the "Happy Nude Rear" card was a hit. Since the first card 6 years ago, it has not only become a hit and tradition but even expected and anticipated.

So once again my old friends and new ones. Here comes the annual card. It is my hope that it can be viewed well and even printed and framed (if you feel so inclined). You can even send it to your loved ones as it is a family photo. Haaa Haaaa. I jest.

May the new year be better than all the rest, Please be safe, healthy, prosperous and peaceful. My wish for you is that this will be your best year yet and that 2007 is full of blessings. :D

Hugs and more hugs (and some humps)



Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ford On Bush

Much ado is being made about the Woodward interview where Gerald Ford said he completely disagreed with Bush on invading Iraq. However, I have to agree with Mark Evanier here that embargoing it until after his death speaks volumes on Ford's intestinal fortitude. It's too bad Ford didn't have the guts to say it for publication; he might have actually made a difference.

No, Bush would have still invaded, as his party would have lock-stepped us to Armageddon if the "W" had said, "Do it!" but the dialog of dissent would have begun earlier. This may have saved lives in the long run as it would have been very hard for Bush and his party to portray a Republican ex-President as "un-American."

Now it's just a sad sidebar to a man who used to run the country but no longer had the courage to speak of his own convictions.

My Twenty-Five Cents

All this talk of my two cents got me thinking about when I was a kid and how two cents was a lot of money to me. It got me remembering when I was actually pretty good with my money management. This was when my allowance was a quarter and I remember how I had to strategize on the usage of all 25 of those cents.

When I would get my allowance I would walk the two blocks to the closest neighborhood store, Beans' Market, run by an old guy named Beans. I don't recall if that was the actual name of the store, but it sure was what everyone called it. There was always a big glass pickle jar containing money on the counter with an old beat-up cowboy hat next to it and a sign that read "Help buy Beans a new hat" (years later they built a Circle-K across the street from Beans' Market and ran him out of business).

Anyway, I would take my 25 cents to Beans' once a week. I would get one comic book for 12 cents (usually a DC); Beans' had two of the rotating comic racks so I always had a good selection to chose from. With my remaining 13 cents I would buy a bottle of RC (Royal Crown) Cola. RC was the only 16-oz drink you could buy and it cost 15 cents a bottle (the same as the other 12-ounce drinks). However, if you drank it at the store and gave them back the bottle, you didn't have to pay the three-cent bottle deposit, so it was only 12 cents. Some weeks I would buy two comic books, but most of the time I needed that RC badly.

This left me exactly one penny to buy bubble gum with. I usually went with either a Bazooka, because it came with a Bazooka Joe comic strip, or a piece of that red, cinnamon-flavored Hot Dog Gum.

I was never once tempted to put the extra penny in the jar for Beans' hat as he had needed a new hat for as many years as I had been going to the store and I had a suspicion that Beans used that money for something other than a new hat. Beans, he drank a bit.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Two Cents on Ford

I've spent a good part of my morning discussing Gerald Ford with people. When someone dies I think there is a natural desire to cover over the blemishes of their life and promote "the good things" and I see a lot of this happening with Ford. However it seems kind of odd the things they are wanting to whitewash .

There are a number of people arguing that Ford was not a klutz and blaming the perception of same on Saturday Night Live. I don't buy it. SNL didn't make up that Ford was a clumsy; that perception was created by the numerous pictures of him bumping his head, tripping over his own feet and whacking bystanders with golf balls.

Then there is the talk of how he "healed a nation" by letting Richard Nixon get away with high crimes and treason. Far from healing the nation I think his pardoning of that crooked son of a bitch made a generation of Republicans feel that they could get away with just about anything. And boy have they been testing that for the past 30 years. Nixon should have gone to prison and had he the excesses of the Republican party that have so devastated our country since that time may not have ever happened.

On top of all this, the man was a political lightweight of the worst kind. Republicans talk about Carter not knowing what he was doing; this man was so clueless he thought people wearing buttons could fix the economy. "Whip Inflation Now?" How about "What an Imbecilic Notion?"

I understand Ford was a nice guy, but he did this country no favor by letting Nixon walk and certainly no favor by passing out "WIN" buttons. By putting a human face on addictions his wife was of greater service to the country than he was.

My two cents.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Perhaps a Bounty!

Don't you just hate reading about what gifts other people received for Christmas? I know I do and I normally try to never get included in those discussions, but... you knew that was coming, didn't you? But, this year is slightly different. I'm not going to talk about Christmas presents per se, only some things I received on Christmas morning. Let me explain...

My parents have been having some work done on their house by the utility companies, free work on their house to make them more energy efficient. One of the tasks they would perform is insulating their attic. Attic insulation is not that big of a deal in southern California, but the gas company thinks it's worth doing (in this case redoing as I know the attic of my parents house already has insulation in it). All my parents had to do was get everything out of the attic. So a few weeks ago they had a young man crawl up in their attic and remove everything from it.

There was not a lot up there; most of it was actually mine. It was toys.

So, when I went to pick my parents up on Christmas morning to bring them to my house for the holiday, I was presented with a number of boxes filled with my old toys.

This might just be a bounty! As I go through the boxes (most of which are the toy's original packaging) I'll share some of it here. But, that ain't happening today!

James Brown

When I heard of the death of James Brown, late on Christmas Eve on the west coast, I immediately thought of junior high school. My years in junior high school coincided with the end of the decade of the 1960s, a time of great change in our country and in my life.

The elementary school I had gone to was, I would guess, 95% white and 5% Hispanic, even though I lived in a poor neighborhood. The other elementary school in our community was I would guess 45% black 45% white and 10% Hispanic. The point being, junior high was my first one-on-one experience with black people and to be honest, some of it was plain frightening. The civil rights movement was in full swing and the black kids I ended up in junior high school with were feeling freedoms they had never felt before.

I was beaten up twice by black kids and threatened a lot more times than that just because I was white. But I took it in stride and there were a few black kids I considered friends in junior high school. It was one of these friends that one day let me in on something I knew nothing about. She carried a picture in her pants pocket every day. She said lots of her friends carried them too and they made them feel proud of who they were.

She carried a picture of James Brown.

She said that more than any national leader, more than any writer, more than any speaker, more than any family member, more than any other singer, Jame Brown had made her and her friends feel for the first time, proud of who they were. And in honor of that, they carried his picture with them.

James Brown didn't give elegant speeches, he didn't speak flowery sermons. He spoke plainly and directly and in doing so he reached them like others could not. Some times straight talk is all that is really needed. "Say it loud. I'm black and I'm proud! Say it loud. I'm black and I'm proud!"

I know in later years Brown did some things in his personal life that diminished his legacy, but none of them could wipe from the record the simple fact that James Brown taught his people how to be proud of who they were at a time when that was considered a radical concept.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Van Dyke is Visually Effective

Growing up in my home when it came to TV comedy, nobody held a candle to Dick Van Dyke. His brilliant sit-com was a staple at the Keller household through most of my childhood. The Dick Van Dyke Show was a great two-set show with inspired writing and top-notch acting held together by the Van Dyke. He has always held a special place in my heart as a comedic actor, slap-stick clown and graceful everyman.

But I had no idea he could do visual effects beyond his amazing pratfalls. However, as an amazing article in the Los Angeles Times explains, Dick is a man of more talents that I ever imagined:
After starring in 1968's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," in which he drove a flying car thanks to the magic of green-screen technology, Van Dyke bought a used Ultimatte system — a pre-digital device that allowed visual-effects pros to do green-screen shots photochemically — and set it up at his house. He played around with it a bit, and then about 15 years ago a friend recommended that he buy an Amiga Toaster, one of the earliest desktop computer-animating systems.

"You could take 3-D objects and figures and photograph a background and fill it in and animate," Van Dyke recalls. "In those days, if you had 15 frames to render it took all weekend. It was very, very primitive but I just got hooked on it.

"Over the last decade, Van Dyke has upgraded his hardware and software along the way. He was finally able to put his effects skills to work on the CBS series "Diagnosis Murder," in which he starred from 1993 to 2001."Production needed a shot of an Evel Knievel-type stuntman doing an impossible motorcycle jump," Van Dyke says.

"Well, I went out to the location and shot some background plates and then I came back and put a 3-D computer-generated guy on a motorcycle doing the stunt and they used it on the show."

I always knew Van Dyke was a man of many talents, I just didn't know how many!

Christmas Firemen

I read this on the John Varley site and had to share...

In a small Texas town there was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. But one small feature bothered me: the three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left.

At a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You darn Yankees never read your Bibles!"

I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible.

She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and riffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in my face she said, "See, it says right here, 'The three wise men came from afar.'"

Friday, December 22, 2006

Did Any One Else See...

..on December 10th at the end of half time in the New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers game, when they showed the video the cameraman had taken that morning?

He zoomed in on the moon, then passed it on the left and zeroed in on a star, that got bigger and bigger until you could see the ring around it. It was Saturn and it was spectacular. Man, those TV cameras have pretty good zoom lens on them.

It looked something like (OK, it looked exactly like) this...

OK, not exactly. The bright glare is from the flash of my camera, but the Saturn is just as it looked!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Speaking of Friendly Neighborhood...

Did anyone else catch Stan Lee on Identity tonight? His identity on the show as "Created Spider-Man" and being the only guy on the show old enough to have created Spider-Man, he was pretty easy to spot even if, like the contestant, you had no idea who Stan Lee was.

The first episode didn't show that much promise to me, though I am a big fan of Penn Jillette. But the second episode, where the guy ran the list and won $500,000 was really exciting as was tonight's episode, where the woman stopped at $250,000 and then found out she was wrong about who she thought was a "Kidney Donor" and who she thought was a "CSI Investigator." My wife and I are having a blast watching this one so far!

Mark's Tree

I live in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California in the city of La Verne. When I look out my upstairs back window I see a cul-de-sac not too far from my home and I have a really good view of my neighbor Mark's house. Mark has an electric flagpole in the center of his roof. He never raises a flag that I can remember, but during December he does raise the pole, with a ring of lights attached. What makes Mark's house unusual is the tree of lights he has situated atop it during the holiday season.

Mark's tree is beginning to be a tradition in our neighborhood, but his close neighbors are not the only ones who get to enjoy it. You can see it for miles around. If you happen to be in the area, on the 210 Freeway heading East, if you look up to the hills at night, just a few miles past the 57 Freeway, somewhere around the Foothill Blvd. exit, you will see his tree. Likewise if you are heading West on the 210 you can see it just a few miles east of the 57 interchange, certainly by the time you hit the Fruit Street exit.

This year's tree has a decidedly blue cast to it. Mark ordered these huge LED lights over the Internet for a small fortune and though there are just as many white, red, green and yellow lights as there are blue, the blue is so vibrant that it dominate the color palate.

Thanks Mark!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Your Friendly, Neighborhood...

So I'm going through my office "stuff" and I find a small drawing pad with only a very few pages still intact. My guess these few remaining drawings are from, oh, 1971 through 1973 or so.

I don't recall drawing many pictures of Spider-Man; too much detail in the webbing. Who has time for all that? I guess I did back in my high school days. This one is strange in that the anatomy is really odd, not like me at all (note how I cleverly skipped drawing the hands completely!). It does have a kind of Ditko look to it, but I have no idea where this came from or why I drew it, though it must have been my idea of a Spider-Man poster.

Of course, it has to have a big foot in it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Cost of Home Ownership - Part III

Well, lets see, in the past few months we've had...

The main high shelf/hanger in our master closet come completely off the wall, ripping large holes where the screws and nails were pried through. We had a couple of "closet companies" in for estimates but went with a cabinet maker who built to fit and customized as we requested. The result is a much nicer, much more expensive master closet. The cedar backing does make it smell nice in there now!

The dishwasher die on us, as I have mentioned before. The repairman said the motor was dead and for the price of getting it repaired we could have a new dishwasher. The result was a new dishwasher, which we like very much, thank you.

A number of faucets were having a number of problems. We got a plumber in and he fixed what he could. We special ordered faucets from Lowes, but they didn't come in on time and when they finally did come in, they were someone else's order. We canceled with them and went to a local store that does faucets, sinks, tubs and toilets only. We special ordered from them as well and our Danish faucets came in last week. They are very modern looking and makes us want to redo all the bathrooms. Maybe some other day.

We had people out give estimates for trimming our trees. One of the companies actually noticed that the birch tree near the front window of our house was cracking the perimeter walls of our lot, so we had the tree removed along with the vines that have been growing on our house for nine years now. They took out the birch, leaving only a stump.

Once the vines were removed from the house, we needed to get it painted. We had a number of painters come in and give estimates. Some plain scared us with how inexpensively they said they would paint the house. We ended up going with the most expensive, because he was the only one to show up at the house with paint all over him and the only one who seemed to know what he was talking about and the only one who could not paint the house immediately. The painting was scheduled to begin yesterday, but...

Last week our neighbor complained that our sprinklers were going haywire on the side of the house as we were sometimes flooding his yard with our water. We had the gardeners look at the sprinklers, but that was not the problem. The problem was the drain that runs along the side of our house was plugged somewhere. We called the plumbers back and they tried to snake the drain from both ends to no avail. They said it was blocked completely near the birch stump.

Today we had an arborist remove the stump and tomorrow the plumbers come back to dig out the pipe and hopefully repair it. With all this going on, digging, drains backing up, etc., we couldn't schedule a painter until this is handled. So, last week we called and postponed the painting. The painter is in such demand that he does not have another opening until February.

We still have electrical issues that need to be handled inside and out and the cleaning woman mentioned today that there is a leak so some sort in the laundry room.

Our house: ten years old, going on 100.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thirty-Four Years Ago Today

If you turned on your TV, this is what you saw:

The last American lunar astronauts leave the Moon. Look at our little friend, the Lunar Module, go! A plaque on the base of the LM reads...

Here Man completed his first explorations of the moon. December 1972 AD. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind.

The next crewed NASA mission to land on the Moon is very tentatively scheduled to occur in 2019 with the Orion 13 mission.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Question of Pride

If you are not watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on a regular basis, you are missing out on some wonderful political insight. On Monday the guest was Sen. Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island who will be leaving Congress at the end of the year. The video below is an amazing look at the dysfunction of Congress though the eyes of one of the few moderate Republicans left. I know it's long, but in particular stay for the last 30 seconds of the second clip when Stewart asks Chaffee, "Can you point to anything in the last five years you think Congress should be proud of?" Amazing TV.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

William Stout

Mark Evanier is reporting that Bill Stout has just come through a nasty brush with cancer and that Bill reports on his weblog that they got it all. I didn't even know Bill was ill.

Bill hosts a life drawing lab at his studio every Sunday morning and I have been going to it for about a year and a half. In the past few months I have not been able to go as my son needed to be taken to work in the middle of the lab which also corresponds with my wife's church services. The last two times I did go, sometime in August, Bill was not even there, supposedly working on finishing up his set of spectacular murals for the San Diego Museum of Natural History.

Bill is a wonderful guy and an amazing artist, and I wish him the best. I just talked to my wife and she said, "What, you still wanted to go to Stout's? I can take an earlier service and then take Brian to work if you like."

I guess I just had to ask, huh?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wouldn't You Like To Make A Pepper Too?

While watching TV tonight I saw one of the new Dr. Pepper commercials where they talk about the "23 flavors" in Dr. Pepper. Now, I don't drink soft drinks anymore, but back in the days when I did, more often than not, it was Dr. Pepper. Nothing tastes quite like an ice cold Dr. Pepper on a hot day. I used to down them by the six-pack of 16-oz bottles.

Anyway, this new ad campaign got me thinking about good ol' Dr. Pepper. When I was a kid the rumor of the day was that Dr. Pepper was carbonated prune juice. Now I never believed that, but I did think there was something a little "prunie" about the flavor, that was, until my family had to really make some cutbacks.

My family was not rich. Hell, we were not even middle-class; we were poor, but my Mom and Dad were so good at handling the little money they made that we never really noticed. They were always looking for a way to save money and one day they came across a store called The Pop Stop.

The Pop Stop sold soda, but they sold generic Pop Stop brand soda. They had a cola and a root beer, a creme soda and a lemon/lime, an orange and a grape and a strawberry and a cherry and it seemed like dozens of other flavors. You bought the stuff by the case and it was really, really cheap, like a tenth of the cost of regular soda. So, for a while, we drank Pop Stop soda at home to save on the pennies.

Now the only problem was, my brother Keith and I both liked Dr. Pepper and they didn't have a Dr. Pepper. I complained to my Mother about this, but my brother just told me not to worry. The next time we went to the Pop Stop Keith selected a six-pack of cherry cola and a six-pack of creme soda. I said, "Keith, we don't like cherry cola and I'm the only one who likes creme soda," but he said not to worry.

When we got home Keith said, "Watch this." He took a bottle of cherry cola and a bottle of creme soda and poured half of each into the same glass, mixing them together. "Taste it," he said, so I did.

"Son of a gun, it's Dr. Pepper!"

Given that experience growing up, I have a real hard time buying the 23 flavors ad campaign since equal parts of cherry cola and creme soda pretty much gets you Dr. Pepper.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ann Coulter - An Apology

John Varley is one of my favorite writers and he hosts quite an eclectic website. I found this there today, written, as it says, in June of this year. I don't think there is much more I need to say. Read and enjoy:


Yesterday I came across this quote from Ann Coulter:
U.S. soldiers who die in Iraq knew they would. Most of them couldn't get a decent job in the private sector anyway, so what does it matter? Someone has to die in a war, why not the poor?

I guess I went a little ballistic. I fired it off to Lee and told her to use it as tomorrow's quote of the day, and attribute it to Ann Coulter, whore. Later, I was still angry, and asked Lee to amend that to Ann Coulter, filthy whore. Lee said she didn't like it, it didn't seem appropriate, but I wouldn't listen. So we went with filthy whore.

Last night, falling asleep, I realized Lee was right. That's what happens when you go off half-cocked, when you don't stop to consider the real meaning of the statements you make. You should never write anything in the heat of anger, and if you do, you should let it sit for at least 24 hours and see if you still feel this is wise.

So this is my apology. In the movie The Two Jakes, a character named Lieutenant Loach says this to Jack Nicholson as Jake Gittes: "I knew a whore once, she would piss in your face but she wouldn't shit on your chest. That's where she drew the line."

Thinking about that, I realized that I'd insulted all the whores of the world. No matter how low they sink, whores draw lines, and Ann Coulter doesn't. She will fling her shit in your face, and then tell you it's chocolate ice cream. Therefore, even the skankiest, clap-ridden, three-tooth, crank-raddled, pus-oozing, scabrous, two-cent whore in the lowest dive in the crappiest town in the world is a moral and ethical cut above Ann Coulter.

Sorry about that, and I'll try to be more considerate of the lowest ranks of humanity in the future. As for Ann Coulter, fuck her. And if any of you can think of something to compare her to that isn't insulting to toads, swine, hemorrhoids, serial killers, psychotics, or steaming puddles of vomit in gutters, please let me know.

June 8, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Future is Now?

Over on the Tony Isabella board the question was asked...

"Is the future here?" I'll look at the sci-fi books and shows of the past, basically the sci-fi that Baby Boomers grew up with, and see where we are today. We've got cell phones, for example, that look like the Star Trek communicators, we've got the beginnings of commercial space travel, we're increasingly wired. We don't have flying cars, though!
This was my response.

My transporter is on the fritz again and that hole in the wall that makes me whatever food I ask for is only spitting out soft serve chocolate ice cream (at least I HOPE it's soft serve chocolate ice cream).

The death-ray I wear in my holster can't hurt a fly and my jet-pack will not get me off the ground. The terraforming of Mars is way, way behind schedule and my plans to vacation in the rings of Saturn are on permanent hold.

Sure, my car will tell me where I want to go but it's not too adept at driving me there. Yeah, I got a flat TV, but I still have not figured out how to step into the picture and take part in the action. And OK, I have video on my phone, but it's not a 3D hologram and has never said, "Help me Obi Wan... you're my only hope."

I'd like to go back to 1985 and buy Microsoft, but my time machine isn't working either. I want to take the monorail downtown to visit the alien zoo, but I can't find a station anywhere near my home.

I would love to have a telepathic conversation with my neighbor, but he seems unable to make contact with my mind and I would be delighted to say, "screw the teleporter" and just Jaunt into town, but I must not remember where that is 'cause that ain't working either.

(who is pretty sure this is not the future)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Something Pretty Cool

The picture above is only a taste of the wonder to be found at this link. Watch and enjoy!

Hey, I fixed the link! It works now!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

When I'm Wrong, I'm Wrong

It seems the episode of Bonanza where Little Joe enters Hoss into a flapjack eating contest, The Flapjack Contest was produced in season 6 of Bonanza and was directed not by Robert Altman but by William F. Claxton.

I have watched two of the Altman-directed episodes and neither are comedies, though some are coming up. In one of the episodes, The Secret, Little Joe is framed for the murder of a young woman. After the town doctor examines her, Ben wants to know if there is any evidence that she was killed (she was found at the bottom of a cliff). The doctor says, "No."

Ben says, "So it was an accident."

The Doctor replies, "Well an accident or maybe suicide." When Ben asks why suicide the doctor asks, "Was she married?"

Ben say, "Why of course not. You know that."

"Well, she should have been," replies the doctor. And so, they said she was pregnant without ever saying she was pregnant. Wow, the way TV worked in 1961 is amazing.