Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Oddities From 1950s Comic Books

I received several e-mails from my recent post on comic books from the late 1950s. There are still more things about the comics from that era that still haunt me four decades later.

Take Batman, for example. I am deeply troubled by this cover:

In 1958, there were apparently no armed robbers or car thieves to bother Batman and Robin. No, instead they had to contend with all manner of ludicrously costumed jackasses who seemed to be more irritating-----like a hyperactive child on a sugar binge-----than threatening. Maybe it was a rite of passage in those innocent days for troubled adolescent males. . . . . . . yeah, I'll dress up like a firefly and jerk Batman's chain. . . . . . . but a villain who looked like Elton John on his 1976 North American tour didn't exactly make an adequate foil for Batman. And why was Batwoman dressed like a dominatrix from the Castro district of San Francisco??

I've previously commented on the somewhat outre nature of the relationship between Superman and his alleged paramour Lois Lane. The relationship between Batman/Bruce Wayne and Kathy Kane/Batwoman was no less problematic:

I don't where to begin parsing the illogic of the above. For example, did Bruce Wayne ever stop to think that maybe one reason Kathy Kane wasn't interested in him was maybe. . . . . just maybe. . . . . she didn't see too much romantic potential in an adult male who lived with a muscular, attractive teenage boy?? And, of course, Ted Carson was really The Firefly. This followed one of the conventions for women in 1950s comics: they were all really stupid. Take Lois Lane. Superman puts on a pair of glasses, and Lois would bleat, "Gee! Where'd Superman go?? I just see Clark Kent standing where Superman was!" Oh well, in this issue Batman managed to beat The Firefly and eventually got a date with Kathy Kane, who remained clueless to the bitter end:

An off-brand, discount superhero from the late 1950s was The Fly. Why anyone would want to have the powers of a giant fly-----in other words, to be attracted to large piles of excrement------was something I could never figure out:

Befitting his position on the food chain, The Fly was always battling monsters or giant robots from outer space instead of human adversaries. At least he was aided in his struggles by Fly Girl and "Turan," which sounds like an archaeological site in the Middle East but who was actually the ambassador of the "Fly People." Or whatever. At any rate, Turan had a habit of popping up whenever The Fly and Fly Girl were stumped as to what they should do next. I wish I had a Turan in my life:

Or maybe not, because most of what Turan had to say didn't make a hell of a lot of sense, as the sample below illustrates:

The late 1950s were maybe the height of Cold War paranoia, and the Godless Communists were uniformly depicted in comic books as calculating and really ugly, almost Neanderthal in appearance.
And, even worse, they wore sunglasses indoors:

And the ads! The rocket ship below sure looked cool, although I doubt it was as good in real life as it looked in the ad. . . . . . . . it was probably just a flat section of folded cardboard with the spaceship design printed on one side:

Kids today are bombarded with agitprop telling them to "go green" and to save the environment. Happily for me, I was bombarded with messages describing the glories of atomic energy:

Take that, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our New Home In Corpus Christi, Texas

Today marks ten days in our new home and it already feels old and comfortable, like we've been living here for a long time. That's a good sign.

Our new address is 32 Rock Creek Drive, and it's part of a condominium townhome development. Here's our front door:

The view from our front door is really nice, as we're on a small artificial pond with landscaping. The pond is home to fish, several ducks, and at least one blue crab we've spotted. Beyond those trees is the Pharaohs Golf Course and Oso Bay:

Here's the front view of our unit and adjoining townhomes. To the left of our front door (and that tree!) is the window of our media room, the upper left is the window of our guest bedroom, and the window to the right above the front door is the window of our home office. We'll be taking a look at those rooms next:

The media room is where we've been spending a lot of our time. It has our big HDTV set and two sofas and is adjacent to the kitchen. Di did a really great job decorating this area; as you can see, she has a taste for oriental themes and items.

While I'm no longer formally working-----I'm considered "medically disabled" these days-----Di and I did set up a home office complete with two computers, wireless broadband, a separate business phone, file cabinets, etc. We still haven't unpacked the scanner, laser printer, etc., so this nice open room will soon get a lot more cluttered!

My favorite "work room" is turning out to be our guest bedroom shown below. It is light and airy, and I like listening to the sounds of the fountains and ducks outside. You can see my laptop computer in the photo below, and I'm using it right now to post this to my blog:

The large windows in the guest bedroom let in a lot of light, and I enjoy sitting in the rocking chair while reading.

This is the view I have from my side of the bed in the master bedroom. The wall decorations are a little sparse because we still have several framed pictures and prints to hang, but it already feels very "homey" and familiar:

Lucy the wonder rabbit even has her own room, a former storage area with a tile floor and plenty of room for her to play (yes, that's a litter box, and, yes, she is housebroken, just like a cat):

Several ducks call our condo development home, and I get a lot of laughs from watching their antics-----"duck politics" are almost as confusing and absurd as human politics!

We're less than a mile from Oso Bay and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the adjoining golf course is the perfect place for pleasant walks in the evenings. Our neighbors all seem friendly and sane; the "vibe" here is right. I think this will be the perfect place for what I need at this point in my life!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dub And Buck

The hardest thing about leaving the Bar Nothing Ranch was having to say goodbye to our horses Buck and Dubya. Below is a photo of them in our pasture; Dubya is looking at the camera while Buck is staring off into the distance:

Dubya is a registered quarter horse (registered name "Nick's Whiz") while Buck was an Arabian (registered name "Double 00 Buckshot'). Buck was Di's horse while Dub was mine, but both really belonged to each other. They were a herd of two, and were like a couple of six year old brothers, always picking on each other and playing together. Seeing how closely they were bonded caused us a lot of anxiety when we were planning our move. We couldn't bear to separate them, but not too many people want two horses at once or have the commitment to keep a bonded pair together.

We got lucky. Through Craigslist-Austin, we were able to locate three solid candidates interested in buying them as a pair. We invited all three out to the ranch for interviews------yep, just like an adoption!-----and to see how they interacted with both horses. All three would've been great owners, but one couple stood out: Sue and Ward Critz of Giddings, TX. As soon as we met them, we knew, absolutely knew, they were the ones.

The Critzes have 120 acres, and Dub and Buck will be ridden on a regular basis to help herd cattle. They also have two other horses, and the Critzes were looking to replace two other horses, one aged 33 years and the other 35 years, they lost in 2007. The clincher was that one of the horses the Critzes lost last year, a mare named Sugar, and Dubya shared a common ancestor, a well known quarter horse named Sugar Bars. Sugar Bars was Sugar's grandfather and Dub's great grandfather; that told us the placement with the Critzes was meant to be!

It was very emotional when the Critzes came to take away Dub and Buck, and I don't mind admitting I cried as I watched the trailer carrying them drive away. If you have to say goodbye to someone or something, and if there isn't a scream of pain within you as you see them leave, then you didn't really love that someone or something. And Di and I both really loved those two horses. I am grateful for the time they were in our lives and for the opportunity to have loved and cared for both of them.

The Critzes have taken some pictures of them in their new home and have sent them to us, and Di and I have a standing invitation to visit both of them. We will definitely take advantage of that offer. Until then, Di and I will remember scenes like the one below at the Bar Nothing Ranch. Dub and Buck gave us many happy memories and good times, and Di and I will always love them!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finally, We're In Our New Home!

It's been a whirlwind few days! Di and I closed on the purchase of our new condo last Tuesday, our stuff was unloaded on Wednesday, and we've spent the last few days unpacking things, hanging pictures and prints, getting new furniture delivered, getting ourselves acclimated to our new surroundings, etc. Getting my AT&T wireless broadband network configured has been an adventure all to itself-----if they require you to use Internet Explorer instead of Firefox for on-line activation and configuration, why don't they mention that in their customer documentation and system requirements??-----but things are finally coming together.

For those of you familiar with Corpus Christi, we're off South Padre Island Drive next to Oso Bay and the Pharaohs Country Cub
and Golf Course. We're less than a mile from the water and three miles from Ocean Drive and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. It's a feeling very much like the one when I lived in San Diego; when you live in a place where people go to vacation, every day feels like a vacation day. There will be a lot to see and do here, and I'm anxious to get started!

Normal blogging will resume shortly!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Farewell To The Bar Nothing Ranch

I haven't been posting much lately, and won't be for a few days more. Di and I are in the process of moving from the "Bar Nothing Ranch" to our new home in Corpus Christi, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico.

This move has been in the discussion stage for several months aince it became clear my
deteriorating physical condition would eventually make it impossible for us to maintain the property (try keeping 5+ acres of clear-cut horse pasture in grazing shape!). I also need to be closer now to hospitals and other medical facilities; each trip to my oncologist in Austin is an 80 mile round-trip, and that gets tiresome really quickly.

We were initially thinking of moving to San Antonio. But that's where Di's younger sister died from bone cancer and so that city has too many unpleasant memories for her-----Di didn't want to have to take me to some of the same medical facilities where she took her sister, and I understand that fully. We started looking around for another place, and after a couple of trips there we settled on "Corpus."

We'll have a two-story townhouse about a mile from Corpus Christi Bay; it has three bedrooms and three baths, so it will be plenty large for two people. Corpus has a population of about 250,000, with all the basic amenities I need. My new oncologists, Coastal Bend Cancer Center, are affiliated with the M. D. Anderson Center and follow the "Anderson protocols" in treatment so I won't miss a beat. There are some great beaches in the area, especially Padre Island National Seashore, and I'm looking forward to living near the water again. I was born by the ocean in Warwick, Virginia, and the places I have most enjoyed living in-----New York City, San Diego, and Alameda Island in the San Francisco Bay-----have been by the water. The offices of HighText/LLH were in Solana Beach, CA, and I enjoyed the "executive meetings" Carol, Jack, and I had on the sand there at Fletcher Cove. It's only natural for the last part of my life to be spent at the shore!

Corpus Christi is on approximately the same latitude as Tampa, Florida, so it's warm there almost all the time. It has some un-Texan things-----like palm and orange trees-----along with some of the usual things, like oil wells. We'll also be about 100 miles north of the Mexican border. There are two large and active synagogues there as well, and I'm glad Di will again have a local Jewish community to participate in.

The only real downer is having to give up our horses, Dubya and Buck. Fortunately, we have found marvelous new owners who are taking both and keeping them together, this time on over 120 acres! Di and I both will really miss them, but it's a relief to know both will be well taken care of in the future.

I won't be posting for about another ten days until I get settled into our new home. I'm excited about this new phase of our lives!