Category Archives: The Good Ol’ Days

Here’s A Few Things About Comic Books

This is going to be one of those round-up blogs, in which I comment on a number of comic book related topics. I have a few things to comment on, but not enough on each topic for a full write up, so…


It’s real. It’s an actual comic book cover. The February 1966 issue of Lois Lane would finally address the issue of Clark Kent’s flimsy disguise. A nice suit and Buddy Holly glasses? Really? If I removed my glasses and donned a Superman costume, people would still know it was me. So, how did this disguise work in the comic books, TV shows, and movies?


That’s me, holding the comic book in question. Geez! My toupee needs adjusting.

I read this issue (which you can buy at – $10 cheap!) and I’m going to spoil it for you. DC Comics doesn’t really explain how Superman keeps fooling the world.

The story in a nutshell: Editor Perry White has to leave the Daily Planet while he serves, temporarily, in the US Senate. His replacement is awfully handsome, a “dreamboat” according to Lois, but he also acts suspiciously. Lois goes on a date with him that first day after work and thinks there’s something up with the guy.

She learns he is the leader of S.K.U.L. (Superman Killers’ Underground League) and she gets roped into a plot to kill Supes. She gets Lana Lang to help her decode the instructions she had been given by this secret underground league. When the message is decoded, Superman bursts in on Lois and Lana and makes that declaration we see on the cover. Lana does admit they’ve had their suspicions.

Superman then removes his mask and he turns out to be the leader of the kill Superman club. But, he’s really an FBI agent trying to smoke out that League and he enlists Lois and Lana to help him. Continued next issue.

They don’t exactly explain how Superman/Clark Kent can fool the world with a suit and glasses.


The sexism just oozes from the narration paragraph at the top. “The Daily Planet’s pretty reporter,” “cute nose.” Yuck!

While reading this comic book from 52 years ago, I was struck by how blatantly sexist it is in its treatment of women and Lois Lane in particular. Lane is an investigative reporter, yet she’s described as stumbling onto stories. Her immediate reaction upon meeting the new editor is to think of him as a dreamboat. And neither Lane nor Lang bring up the topic of marriage, yet that’s what “Superman” deems the best way to berate these women for their stupidity. Marriage must have been a major theme in the Lois Lane series, after all it was a “girl’s” comic.

Switching gears, a couple months back, on a Facebook comic book fan group page, there was a discussion of whether the cover of Marvel’s Fantastic Four #1 was an homage to or a rip-off of the cover illustration of DC’s The Brave and The Bold #28 (the first appearance of the Justice League Of America). Look below for a comparison.



Compostionally the two cover are very much alike. I prefer the Fantastic Four cover, because I prefer Jack Kirby’s drawing to Mike Sekowsky’s. Although, Sekowsky’s anatomy drawing is better and FF #1 isn’t Kirby’s best cover. It’s good, just not his best.

(OK, I’m a Marvel kid. I’m required by the MMMS to always prefer Marvel covers. Even if drawn by Rob Liefe… NO! There’s no way I can do that! I must draw the line somewhere!)

At first, I thought it was coincidence. Then I learned that the Fantastic Four was the result of a mandate from Atlas Comics publisher, Martin Goodman, to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to create a superhero group to compete with the Justice League of America, DC’s super team that debuted just about a year earlier. Learning that bit of history has me leaning toward rip-off.

What do you think?

Finally, as part of that JLA/FF discussion, someone brought up the practice of artists copying other artists in the creation of comic books. They provided an image (see below) that certainly is evidence of copying.


Top frame: Jack Kirby • Middle frame: Gil Kane • Bottom frame: Rich Buckler

There’s no denying the second two frames were copied from work done by Kirby in the first frame, assuming that image is the original use of that punch. You will note that Gil Kane (second frame) made a couple changes to the pose: Captain America’s left arm is held differently and his hips are turned to the right. Kane’s variation, in my opinion, makes the pose a little on the awkward side, especially the lower part of his left leg.

Gil! If you’re going to copy the master, copy the master.

Someone in the group discussion claimed that Stan Lee, himself, would hand artists frames of comic art, usually drawn by Kirby, and instruct them to copy that frame. This revelation was offered without any source citation, so it may be untrue. And it may be a case of artists just copying other artists, in this case Kirby, because the other artists may have solved a difficult problem. When you consider how quickly artists had to get the work done with looming deadlines and the need to do as many pages as possible in a day to get decent pay, copying is understandable.

Artists were paid lousy. If you could only manage one page a day, you’d starve.

Packing Peanuts!

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The Good Ol’ Days Of Stupid

Guest blogger Michael Noble returns with his thoughts on kids being stupid, inspired by this whole eating Tide detergent pods silliness.

Of course we did stupid things as kids.

We were kids for Pete’s sake. Being a kid comes with certain entitlements. In many cases doing stupid things was expected of us.

Still, in hindsight, it seems we were a more intelligent sort of stupid than the youth of today. (If that makes any sort of sense.)

Example: We didn’t go around eating Tide pods, things we know for certain aren’t to be ingested. In some deluded, misplaced reality, chomping down on laundry detergent capsules is a rite of passage currently. When I was a kid having our mouths washed out with soap was a punishment, not a dare. We may have been dumb but we didn’t knowingly self-inflict such blatant imbecility on ourselves. I mean, we did stupid things … but we weren’t stupid.

See the photo above? We did stuff like that. For the thrill of it, in pursuit of the challenge of it all. It was good, clean fun. Getting run over by a bicycle? No big deal. Yeah, so you got a welt the size of a basketball that migrated from your chest, around your side and all the way around to the middle of your back. But, eventually, it would heal. And probably before your mom got wind of it. So really… where was the harm? We could still walk. There were no open wounds. Some mussed up hair and a few tire marks on your clothes, nothing a run through the wash couldn’t cure.

The point is: We had fun. We knew how to have fun without killing each other or ourselves. Each weekend, with school behind us, was an adventure, the dawning of a new day that saw us with our favorite cereal in front of an hour of morning cartoons followed by undertakings with friends on a full day hunt for pure, unadulterated, unsupervised enjoyment without a care in the world.

And, oh… the memories some of those undertakings yielded.

I remember one particular Saturday. My father had to go into work for some important project (his company built engine components for NASA and Boeing) and mom spent the day in the house cleaning and cooking. I was left by my lonesome to play with neighbors or build models or what have you. This Saturday saw a friend and I tinkering about in the garage. We found a five gallon bucket and decided to experiment with Ajax and gasoline and some sort of flower food for my mother’s outdoor plants. All went into the bucket along with things such as turpentine and laundry detergent and whatever was in that glass jar on the top shelf above the washing machine forever beckoning me every time I took out the trash. If it sounded cool into the mix it went. My buddy even found an old fencing slat perfect for stirring it all together.

But whatever the last ingredient was that got added to the mix made the concoction foam. And rather violently, almost to the point of bubbling over the rim of the container. And the chemical stench of it all! It burned the hairs in our noses and left a tang that wouldn’t soon be forgotten. That’s when I knew it was time to call it quits. I grabbed the bucket by the handle, schlepped it out the back garage door and out the side yard, opened the gate leading to the street and awkwardly dragged it across the front yard lawn to pour it into the gutter. I told my friend to grab the garden hose so we could wash it down the street. That done, I rinsed out the bucket, left it to dry and we put away all our doings strewn around the garage. When I went back to close the gate, that’s when I noticed the line in the lawn.

There was a definitive burn seared into the grass, a burn line leading from the backyard all the way out to the street … and it was still smoking. I didn’t remember spilling anything when I dragged the bucket across the lawn but there was the evidence in front of me, plain as day. The line was in the last throes of bubbling, grass curling up into itself, gasping its last, never to convert carbon dioxide into breathable air ever again. The trail was discernible, telltale and accusatory. I grabbed the hose and washed the scar with water as best I could, hoping against hope it would help … or at least stop the grass from smoldering. “Michael! Come here!” my friend called to me. I ran over to him. He pointed at the bucket we’d used. There, drying in the sun where I’d left it, was a gaping hole in the bottom of it, clear indication whatever witch’s brew we’d mixed up was toxic enough to melt an opening in the container. That’s where the liquid leaked. That’s where the searing line in the grass came from.

My mind raced. Maybe my father wouldn’t notice. Maybe, because that gout was on the far side of the front yard, it wouldn’t be readily obvious from such a distance. If the subject came up, I would deny, deny, deny, as would my buddy if asked. “Burn in the lawn? No, I don’t know about any burn in the lawn…” would be my response when my father asked me if I knew anything.

There was no proof of our culpability, no accusatory evidence I had anything to do with the channel of now dead grass running across the lawn. We had the perfect alibi: Ignorance. And the two of us made a pact – we would never speak of this again.

Later in the week, when my father took the trash out, he mentioned the blight on the lawn. “Michael, do you know anything about the front lawn? I took the trash out and it looks like something spilled across the grass all the way out to the street…”

“In the lawn? You mean… our lawn? The lawn in our front yard? That lawn? Nope.” I replied.

In retrospect, mixing those chemicals was a dumb thing to do. But good times nevertheless.

Now here’s the thing: When I was a kid, there was no such thing as Tide pods, desolvable laundry detergent in convenient little packets you tossed into the wash. No such product to stupidly dare one another to chomp down on to see what reaction came of such foolishness.

We may have been dumb kids who mixed together all sorts of chemicals that probably could have blown the garage to smithereens, but we weren’t stupid enough to challenge one another to swallow it.

Thanks, Michael. I’m glad you survived childhood. You can read more by Michael at

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When You Absolutely, Positively Have to Have Salisbury Steak

Guest blogger Michael Noble returns once again, this time to regale us with a tale of Salisbury steak. This ought to be interesting…


Funny thing about me and food: I get a craving for something and, of course, it won’t be readily available right then and there. What to do?

Well, over the last 15 years or so, I bite the bullet, look up whatever it is I’m craving, and figure out how to make it from scratch.

Some of my previous attempts?

Off the top of my head: Eggnog. Macaroni and cheese. Shepherd’s pie. Almond roca. Mushroom soup. Custard pie. Fresh whipped cream. (No, not all were successes the first time around. I’ve since tweaked a couple of them during later attempts and made them work to my satisfaction. The really interesting one was my custard pie; it came out perfectly the first time I made it. The second time it didn’t work so well for whatever reason. As the saying goes: They can’t all be gems.)

Now… I’m well aware every single one of those items mentioned is easily procured if you simply jump into the car and head over to the local grocery store. But I’m not the sort of person who takes the easy road in such situations. I’d much rather go a’huntin’, get some hands-on learning in and gain the experience and satisfaction of doing it myself.

Last week one of those “situations” raised its head and its name was Salisbury steak. For whatever reason, the dish cropped up somehow, somewhere (I believe I saw a picture in a magazine) and I started salivating at the very thought of it. A little strange, I know… but a craving is a craving.

So, I went looking for a recipe. My intention was to make Salisbury steak to enjoy with The Golden Globes awards broadcast Sunday evening.

“Sunday night? I’m making Salisbury steak for dinner. I’m craving it for some reason,” I announced. “That work?”

“Knock yourself out,” I was told.

I found a recipe that fit my needs – it just so happened to be a slow cooker recipe – and, to my delight, I discovered I had all the ingredients at hand necessary to make the dish. Well… almost.

There was one item I lacked: A particular gravy mix. But I knew there were a few extra containers of brown gravy languishing in the pantry from the holidays. I figured I could doctor some to the point of edibility. (Despite the fact it was a name brand product, rarely does something that comes from a jar “work” in a recipe from scratch. Whipping it up fresh is usually preferable.)

Now… Let’s talk about my experience with Salisbury steak for a moment. Honestly, it had been a long, long time since I last had it. Truth be told, the memory of it was probably a lot more delectable in my mind than in reality. I did remember someone making it in the past and it being a taste delight at the time. Other than that? My Salisbury steak memories consisted of my mother tossing frozen TV dinners in the oven for us kids. Hey… We liked those TV dinners. They came with interesting potatoes and strangely attractive vegetables. The fried chicken was pretty damned good. And the desserts were always a surprise treat, too. (What did we know? We were young, culinarily-inexperienced, impressionable kids.) But I remember… I remember the Salisbury steak dinners were one of my favorites.



It was meat (and, as a kid, I loved meat) but a different kind of meat. It was weird meat is what it was… but kids dig “weird.” Of course, what I liked as a kid didn’t always translate over to adulthood. I foggily recall having one of those dinners with about 20 years nestled between the last experience and it wasn’t what I remembered. In fact, it was pretty much inedible. Adulthood will do that to your taste buds, you know. Thankfully.

So, why I was all hot and bothered to reacquaint myself with Salisbury steak was a bit of a mystery. But I figured I could make it from scratch head and shoulders above what could be peeled back and exposed from beneath a thin layer of aluminum foil straight out of the oven, all hot and bubbly and oozing over into the other segments of that hot metal tray.

Sunday came and I got to work. I seasoned and formed the hamburger meat with CBS Sunday Morning speaking to me in the background. And then I browned the patties and drained the grease, wrapped them up and tucked them snugly away in the fridge for later disposition. Later, as the afternoon got on, I added the remainder of the ingredients into the crock pot, placed the patties at its bottom, covered all, and switched the pot to its lowest setting. In four hours, there would be Salisbury delight wafting in the air.

As the time got nearer, I made mashed potatoes and fried up Delicata squash to compliment the meal. With those condiments complete, I switched off the crock pot and lifted the lid.

The aroma that arose from the pot was appealing, comforting, beefy. I could hardly wait to dig in.

The table set, the food served, I began. That first taste was Salisbury steak, all right. But nothing I’d ever quite tasted previously. Yes… the hot, smothered flavors were there from my youth but there was a distinctive taste I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It wasn’t off-putting by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t anything I readily recalled, either.

I struck up a conversation after a few bites, “Remember Clifton’s Cafeteria in the mall when we were kids? How it had those long lines of cafeteria offerings, all the senior citizens milling about trying to decide what to put on their plates? I’m getting that sort of vibe from this. Not in a bad way, more in a comforting way. It brings back those memories…”

“No… it’s not bad at all. And it does bring back memories, all right,” came the response. “And, since you opened the door and started critiquing, I’ll throw in my two cents: It kind of reminds me of those TV dinners I had as a kid. There weren’t any I remember ever really liking. Sorry.”

Huh. Guess me and my nostalgia and my memories will be revisiting Salisbury steak all by our lonesomes next time around…

Thanks, Michael. I’m feeling an odd craving for a TV dinner right now. You can read more by Michael at

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My Favorite Christmas Songs

It’s Holiday again.

I mean, it’s Christmas time again. For the purposes of this blog I can call a ceasefire to my part of the War on Christmas and acknowledge the holiday that occurs every December 25th. Actually, there really isn’t a war on Christmas. I know, Bill O’Reilly is turning in his grave hearing me say that. (Is he dead?) But, seriously. The majority of Americans still celebrate it. We still get the day off of work and school. The specials still run on television. So retailers are opting to be more inclusive when giving Season’s Greetings to their customers. Big deal. Is that a war?

Be that as it may, I thought I’d list five of my favorite Christmas songs. As always, this is my list. Your results may vary.

In no particular order, here they are:


Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt (1953)
Oh, yeah, it’s cheesy and the string breaks get a little annoying, but Kitt’s sultry gold-digging is quite enjoyable. It would be difficult for Santa to deny her requests when put the way she does it. Others have covered this song, but this version is the best. And the “boom-boom, boom-boom’s” are a nice touch.


Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen (1967)
This Christmas song was The Royal Guardsmen’s follow-up to their Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron hit from the year before. In fact, musically the two songs are virtually identical. I had to do quite a bit of digging through YouTube to find the first hit from 1966. Many people seem to think Snoopy’s Christmas is titled Snoopy Vs The Red Baron, but they are different songs. Apparently, this band had a thing for Snoopy.


It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams (1963)
Yes, I know. This song is almost cliche, but I have to include it. It reminds me of all those Christmas specials that would play on TV in the lead up to the big holiday. Those specials helped mark of the days until Santa came and, at the same time, ramped up the anticipation of the arrival of that generous and jolly old fella. Andy Williams also came up with the only version of Twelve Days of Christmas, normally an incredibly tedious song, that I like. (I’ve linked to it as a bonus.)


A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives (1964)
I first heard this one the way I’m sure most of the rest of you have: From The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Television Special. Yes, plenty has been said in recent years about what a terrible message that special taught American television-viewing audiences in the mid-60s and beyond. The message was if you’re different you’re a freak and unwanted, even by Santa! And that only when that difference can be exploited are you then worthy of inclusion. Well, despite the horrible treatment of misfits, the song is quite rousing.



Christmas Time Is Here – Vince Guaraldi Trio (1965)
This might just be my favorite Christmas song. As with most of the others, this one comes from a television holiday special – the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. I think the music for this program is what makes it so darn good. The Vince Guaraldi Trio really did something special here. In fact, the entire soundtrack is fantastic!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Packing Peanuts!

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Scooby Doo, How Could You?

Writer’s note: The following is another blog ripped from my personal blog at It has been updated and rewritten just a little bit…

I’m a skeptic. What that means is I require good, scientific evidence before I accept an extraordinary claim. I’ve learned that, throughout history, ever mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic. Not ghosts. Not demons. Not monsters. Not any paranormal or supernatural phenomenon at all. Nope. The mysteries all turn out to be something in this world and not out of this world. (Thanks to Tim Minchin and Michael Shermer for much of what I just wrote are their words.)


The Saturday morning cartoon series Scooby Doo, Where Are You? did a lot to set a skeptical foundation for a generation of kids. Debuting in 1969, the series followed a group of four kids and their dog who traveled the countryside looking for mysteries in need of solving. These intrepid trust-funders (there was never any mention of any of them having a job) would stumble upon a mystery involving apparently supernatural causes. They would then search for clues. Chased by ghosts, witches, werewolves, and other assorted creeps, our heroes would manage to reveal the truth and catch the bad guys.


The bad guys never turned out anything anywhere near being supernatural. It was never a ghost or a witch or a werewolf. It nearly always turned out to be someone in a costume, except that one time when it was a robot run amok in an amusement park. It’s a wonder the gang, especially Shaggy and Scooby, would continue to be scared of g-g-g-ghosts. After all the times the mystery turned out not to be supernatural, you’d think they would no longer believe in ghosts or anything similar.

I watched Scooby and the various later incarnations up until Scrappy Doo came along and ruined the show. But, even up to that point, the mysteries were always normal and natural phenomena.

In 1999 came the full-length animated special Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost. A few years ago, my son was watching that adventure on DVD when I came home from work. I was shocked and disappointed. Sometime during the 30 years since Scoob and the gang debuted, the ghosts had become actual ghosts! No! Say it ain’t so.


The show featured a grrl rock band called The Hex Girls. They referred to themselves as “eco-Goths.” From what I could tell that meant they were rockin’ girls that liked to look like the undead and sing about saving the earth. All the Goth look with none of the nihilism.

One of the group was Wiccan. No problem. But the show kept treating Wicca as though it was an ethnic group and not a religion. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Wicca can be considered an ethnicity.

But, I’m just picking nits.

What really bothered me was the fact Hanna-Barbera, the producers of Scooby Doo, thought it would be a good idea to drop the no supernatural policy and have an actual ghost witch in the story. My skeptic’s heart was broken.

The first two thirds of the show followed the original Scooby Doo ethos by having bad guys in costumes using trickery to scare people, but in act three it went supernatural. A character who turned out to be a double-crossing villain found a book of spells and released the witch’s ghost from whatever limbo in which it had been imprisoned. This time it wasn’t smoke bombs and mirrors or any other tricks. This time it was magic. Actual magic.


That’s not smoke and mirrors, it’s an actual ghost witch. For shame!

It took the Wiccan girl, who was pure of heart, to read the spell that re-imprisoned the witch’s ghost. Mystery solved.

I was appalled. I explained to my son how it was wrong for Scooby to have been promoting the supernatural, after having shown kids that such mysteries always have a real world explanation. Scooby had taught kids that the supernatural, the paranormal, and the unexplained are merely mysteries that can be solved without invoking magic.

I don’t have a problem with other TV shows and movies, for kids or adults, indulging in supernatural fantasy. I am a a fan of The X-Files, Jonny Quest (the first season), Harry Potter, Dracula, Frankenstein, haunted house stories, etc. Those shows always allowed for the supernatural to be real (despite Scully’s protestations). Scooby Doo didn’t accept the magic when it started and for years after. But when Scooby Doo went supernatural, I felt betrayed.

Scooby Doo, how could you?!

Packing Peanuts!

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Who Knows The Shadow?


“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

I knew that phrase before I ever heard a single episode of that very popular crime show from the Golden Age of radio. My dad liked to use the phrase and he would tell me of those old, old days when families would gather around the radio to listen to shows like The Jack Benny Program, The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, and The Shadow. People would sit transfixed looking at their radios as though they were television sets. Seems odd, but it does make sense if you think of the radio as a storyteller. Where else would you look? You don’t want to be rude, do you?

In the early 1970s, radio technology had advanced some due to the transistor. Radios could be smaller and more affordable. And they could be placed under you pillow, so you could listen as you went to sleep. Each Sunday night, after Casey Kasem signed off his American Top 40 countdown, the local station would play some old radio shows from that bygone era. Oh, how I dug listening to them, especially The Shadow.

Radio was theater of the mind and in your mind could be found the most spectacular special effects, effects that are just now being approached by the best FX departments of Hollywood. But, through radio (and books, I suppose) when cued by the dialog as to what is going on, each listener’s view in their mind’s eye would be unique to them. That’s something the visual medium is only able to do by not showing something to the audience.

Suspenseful moments were all the more suspenseful because you couldn’t see what was happening. It was the “less is more” concept and it couldn’t be any other way on radio. Jack Benny’s pauses were funnier, Fibber McGee’s closet had so much more junk in it than could ever be shown, and The Shadow’s laugh was so much creepier and more menacing simply because the visuals were all in our heads. In film, the viewer can be shown everything, but good filmmakers know that to build suspense or the feelings of dread and terror not seeing something can be much more effective.


That’s why The Shadow was so perfect for radio. Trained in the mystical arts of the Far East, Lamont Cranston had the ability to cloud men’s mind so that he could not be seen. He became a shadow whose sinister laugh would alert the bad guys of his presence. Like Batman (whose creators were greatly influenced by Cranston’s alter ego), the Shadow knew criminals to be a fearful and superstitious lot and his abilities made him an excellent crime fighter.

He was assisted by his “friend and companion” Margo Lane. She was the only other person to know Lamont’s secret identity. I have to wonder, since this was the late 1930s and Margo and Lamont were not married, were any of the more conservative listeners concerned about the nature of their relationship? I don’t recall there being any indication of romance between them. Hey! Men and women can work together without any hanky panky.

In 1935 the character of the Shadow started out as the voice that introduced the CBS radio program the Detective Story Hour, on which he would open each show saying, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” and then he’d laugh that terrifying laugh. Later, in 1937, CBS developed a crime drama with The Shadow as its lead character and it was a very young Orson Welles who provided the voice. Listening to Welles as Cranston and the Shadow it’s hard to believe he was only in his early 20s.


A very young Orson Welles as the Shadow.

Those old radio shows were aired live and with very little rehearsal. Actors had to be able to act from the page after only gaining a very cursory view of the script before going to air. They didn’t have much to go on, but most shows went just fine. On one particular Shadow episode (Death From The Deep) there were a couple moments when Welles seems to step on his fellow actors’ lines, but he may have been going for dramatic effect.

There’s an entertaining conversation between Welles and Johnny Carson about the old days of live radio dramas and comedies. (You can check that out here.) In that conversation Carson mentions what a great medium for storytelling radio was and he’s so right. I suggest you go to YouTube and find and listen to a few of those old radio shows. Let your mind’s eye have a little fun.

And remember:

“The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay. The Shadows knows!”

Packing Peanuts!

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Michael Noble returns this week with a guest blog. Last month he related a story of an odd school experiment he was part of as a kid. This time he relates an odd thought experiment he did on his kids. The story is from about eight years ago and he swears this conversation really did happen…

“So how was school?” I asked the younger of my two daughters.

“Okay,” she responded.

“Do you have a lot of homework today?”


“Tough stuff? Or is it pretty easy?”

“It’s not that big of a deal. But I need some colored markers to do a project. I have to color in some things for a history assignment.”

“We have plenty of crayons…”

“No. I need markers. Colored ones.”

“Oh. Well, there are colored pens you can use. I saw them in a drawer just the other day.”

“I can’t use those. I need markers. The big ones. And they need to be colored.”

“Why do they need to be colored?”

“For my project.”

“Did your teacher tell you this project needed to be colored?”

“No. That’s just the way I want to do it.”

By this point, my older daughter was intently listening to our conversation.

“Do you have money to purchase markers?” I continued.

“No. It’s your responsibility as the adult to buy them for me.”

“No, it’s not! My parents never bought me markers. I never needed to color anything for a project. Matter’a fact, we didn’t have markers with colors back when I was in school. We only had crayons if we wanted to color anything. And they were pretty expensive at the time, if memory serves. A lot of us couldn’t afford them. And those who couldn’t, like me, managed by creating our own primary colors.”

“Really? How did you do that?”

“Well, it was interesting and creative. We picked our noses and used the boogers for the color green. We poked our fingers with stick pins ’til they bled for the color red. And we peed to get the color yellow. Green, red and yellow. Primary as primary colors get.”


“Need more green!”

Dad… !!!” exclaimed my daughters in unison.

“Wow, that trumps the walking two miles uphill to and from school story,” the elder one noted.

“Hey, waitaminnit!” my younger daughter interjected. “Green isn’t a primary color! The primary colors are blue, red and yellow!”

“Well, that just goes to show you how old I am. When I was a kid, the color blue didn’t exist. Green was one of the original primary colors. When blue was invented it took over for green…”

Dad… !!!” they exclaimed in unison once again.

“I know!” I responded. “I was rather impressed people were willing to do that. Come to think of it, green was a very popular color back then.”

Thank you, Michael. And eeewwww. You can read more of his writing at

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