Thursday, May 28, 2009


I can still remember smiling nervously when I first learned why girls seemed to love the video game Centipede (back in the late 70s and very early 80s - (trackball photo from net)).

What I didn't remember was all the AWESOME games there were back then until I wandered into this nest of geeks, the CCAG ( the Classic Console and Arcade Gaming show) near the NASA's Glenn Research Center, which I really wanted to see, outside Cleveland.

Remember these? Ever heard of them? Atari 2600 anyone?

Stunt Cycle, one of the six stand-ups brought to the show (no quarters necessary), is the earliest game I can remember playing - Don Carter's Bowling Alley, Miami, FLA, circa 1976, desperately trying to avoid the family bowling team.

The show was at this American Legion outpost.

The area still looked pretty much like this.

And this other photo on the wall made all the avoidance and escapist behavior of the celebrants feel tragic in a new way.

Back across Cleveland, in a neighborhood called Collinwood, I came across some great music ( Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival pictured here playing outside Beachland).

I highly recommend the stores Music Saves and Black Arrow (pictured here). Say hello from Hoboxia.

And so I left Cleveland, many amazing neighborhoods, people, and sights.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Guernican Kryptonite

I heard a smart guy, Medieval scholar guy, amazing professor guy, who lived on a converted turkey farm, once say that Picasso's painting, Guernica, symbolized the end of the Modern era. Whatever the merits of that, my young mind was inspired to think up what a good symbol for the start of the purported "postmodern" era would be. I looked around that time, (1930s) and something lined up quite nicely, time and meaning-wise: the publication of a saddle-stitched newsprint magazine called Action Comics #1, the cover featuring a guy in a red, blue, and yellow costume lifting a car and smashing it against a boulder with two guys in suits running away in terror and another regular-clothed guy on all fours looking on timidly. From context, the car must have belonged to bad guys, maybe the guy on the ground was dumped out of the car as he tried to get away from a crime scene. Maybe the other two guys were in on it and will be grabbed after Sups takes the car out of action. Or was this primary colored male (of which ALL colors are created) smashing the car against the Prometheus stone? The creation of the Superman in print as a protector of the innocent just as America was laying the foundation of its global power while Hitler was creating a literal blond Germanic Superman from ideological madness doomed to fail, summed it up for me as a perfect Now Open sign for Post-Modernism.

This is what he looked like back then - doing his thing against what he eventually became. (recent homage - art by Kevin Nowlan)

When I left Bloomington, my destination was originally Pittsburgh (where I am now) but I had to go check out Henry Ford's ghost factory in Detroit, and then hit Cleveland on the way to Steel City to visit what is essentially a shrine for cartoonist nerds such as myself ...

[First, a quick anecdote about leaving Detroit: I-75 was under construction and my GPS sent me on a road that forced me toward a bridge. I usually love accidentally discovering new things to explore, but this bridge was headed for another country, our neighbors to the north, though this bridge was going south out of Detroit (strange map around here). I had to plead to turn around and then went through three checkpoints to "re-enter" America. One guy gave me the fifth degree because I look like the perfect fake-American Arab, with my ballcap, kitty, and story about traveling here and there. "Where you headed?" "Cleveland." "Where you coming from?" "Bloomington." "Then WHY are you in Detroit, sir?" "Uh ..." That's when things got awkward. "Do you have a gun, sir?" "I ... no .. I don't." "It's okay if you do, you're allowed, you just ought to tell me. I'd be angry if I find out later." (this is verbatim) "No gun." "Do you have over $10,000 in cash on you?" "I wish." "Ok, take a left at those cones." "Did I actually leave the country?" "No, sir. You did not." Then I drove on.]

Back to 1938! Actually 1933, when jewish teenager Jerry Siegel re-invented a badguy Superman he created as the goodguy boyscout we know today, with art by his high school buddy, Joe Shuster, who lived nine blocks away, in the Cleveland suburb of Glenville. They pitched their bulletproof man for over five years until it was chosen to adorn the cover of a new comic release from the company that would become D.C. Comics. Jerry's father died from heart failure after his downtown store was robbed by gun-wielding thugs. Superman fought regular criminals in the early days, and extraordinary criminals like the Nazis, but didn't fight Super-villains until later, because Siegel created him not as an imaginary pulp hero, but as a Golem to protect the innocent.

And here is the house where it happened!

This is the backyard of the house (most likely never seen by Jerry and Joe, nerds.)

and here is a house just down the block.

Unfortunately, this neighborhood is one of the most severe foreclosure areas in the country. I talked to the guy painting the Superman house (pictured above), which has had a family living there for 20 years with no affiliation to Sups or DC or anything related. He mentioned that the house was being restored by the community development agency and that there will be a big unveiling in July with everyone invited (COME ON OUT).

So far, this is the only evidence in the area that Superman was born here, but plans are in the works to change that.

I went into the development office looking for more info on that event and was delightfully surprised to find a super hot, highly professional, locally loved, and enthusiastic supporter of her neighborhood and the role of this historic house in it. This is from her office.

As well as this, a brick from the original chimney which was torn down, available for sale with proceeds going to the restoration project (click here to make tax-deductible donation and get a piece of history).

And here's the last photo that will ever be taken of the Superman color scheme that's been on the house for the last few decades (unless another nerd drove up after I left that day). The house will be painted in original colors. Check out this video of the man who's leading the charge for the restoration, Brad Meltzer.

Yes, Superman had a cat (named Streaky) when he was Superboy (NOT a Jerry Siegel idea). This is what Solomon was clearly thinking about while checking Superman's house for cobwebs to eat.

Monday, May 25, 2009


A simpler time. When horses were 32 x 32 pixels. I was blasting by this on the freeway and didn't get a great shot but the early Atari graphics image against the archetypal rural scene was beautiful.

This is us on the way to Detroit - first time in new state - Michigan! Not sure if the King has been here before during his days as a young show beast. He slept through it anyway.

A million years ago, I started some oil painting portraits of my favorite bad guys, a series I called Notable Villains. It included infamous nutjobs like Hegel, BF Skinner, Herbert Spencer, Ayn Rand, I had a long list and the guy at the pinnacle of this ensemble of world-changing rapscallions was the guy who I guarantee will be the Zeus in the pantheon of robot gods, if not The Man, if they go monotheist (terrible idea), the inimitable Henry Ford.

There were two reasons I wanted to visit Detroit (three if it were the 1960s), the supposed regeneration of nature in place of urbanity and the factory where Henry Ford first #*&%ed the world (and Motown Records if it were the 1960s). Yes, I hate cars (and love them)(BMW 507 please *stephen colbert grabby hands), but that wasn't really what Ford created. Europeans did that. What He did was create the assembly line. He did so in this factory where the first Model Ts rolled off the line. Other curiosities about the guy - the only non-German to get the highest award from the Nazis. He was Hitler's hero. Seriously. Adolf had a giant poster of him in his office. The guy was just a serious worker and hated things that got in the way of efficiency, like unions, nature, and jews.

Detroit was CRAZY, I liked it, it was like driving in Rio, but I quickly moved on after spending the night here in Greektown (highly efficient place for camping, casino parking garages).


Sunday, May 24, 2009


Solomon and I had a wonderful stay in Bloomington

there on Cobble Creek Circle above the pond down from the forest glen.

Many incredible things happened:

The wonderful and amazing friends of Prof.B. got pregnant. (congratulations again - consider Fink for her name)

I met a really awesome person who happens to be the spitting image of Brink's mom and has her constitution too.

Prof.B. met his female doppelganger who may or may not be an evil robot I created to help him destroy and/or save the world.

Solomon got a taste of a harsh Matriarchy and wasn't pleased. (the girls never took to him)

I'll miss the random deer in everyone's yards.

The soccer group was a perfect mix of old and young, somewhat skilled and ready for the glue factory ( - the group I'm heading towards)

Bloomington's verdant glow came in strong while I was here.

And the forest life took a ride home with ProfB and me ( five actually - this a photo I took of one I pulled off my neck! ).

Solomon was excited to get back on his throne, unable to annex the girl cat's home into the Kingdom of Hoboxia, or recruit them into Hobox.

Here's the professor trying to convince all the citizens of Bloomington to convince me to stay.

But it was back to business for the King and his driver...
(that's the steering wheel and my lap)


Friday, May 22, 2009


According to the city, Columbus, Indiana ranks as #6 (that's FIVE, SIX, SEVEN) in Architectural innovation of all U.S. cities, including Chicago, New York, D.C. et al.

Prof.B., K, me, A, and her two friends, S and M, drove the hour out east to take a tour and see for ourselves what this was all about. Turns out the city is lousy with master modern work by the likes of IM PEI, EERO SAARINEN, RICHARD MEIER, and many more.

I was most taken with the schools, the POD system pictured above (my blue grass), and went especially crazy for this one though I'm still not sure why. On the front door of every classroom is a porthole window at the height level of the corresponding grade.

This was the first stop on the tour, a few steps from the Visitors Center, a Henry Moore arch in front of an IM PEI um... Library? I've already forgotten there were so many buildings on the tour. Across the street is the building that started it all in this town, in the 40s, Eero Saarinen's dad's Modernist Christian Church. Have a look at the full set of photos at ( ) including this scrumptious morsel ...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This is the barn I see on the way to soccer.

Monday, May 11, 2009


These are just some of the photos I took at the endlessly fascinating Exotic Feline Rescue Center, which is about an hour out of Bloomington in Center Point, Indiana. It started in 1991 with a few cats and a few acres and they now provide comfortable sanctuary for 195 large cats. I dawdled as much as possible on the tour to get these snaps. If you're an animal rights person or even a cat person, I highly recommend tax-deductible charitable donations to the EFRC. There are many more photos on my flickr site:

Here's a link to the set on flickr.

and a link to the slideslide version.

Portrait(s) of An Artist As a Cat Lover
by Prof.B.