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Showing posts from June, 2008

My Back Still Sucks, My Knee is Knocked, But I Return Anew...

Another period of feeling fantastic followed swiftly by an absolute assault on nearly every portion of my body. That's what hit me the last couple of weeks. Every time I get rolling -- exercising fully, walking several miles a day, hitting the crunches and whatnot (while simultaneously keeping the writing muscles loose and limber) -- something sidelines me. First, a bad cold a couple of weeks ago. This led to coughing fits which kept me straining to not throw out my back again like I did in a most severe way last year. Then, once the cough went away, and I was punch-drunk with giddiness over feeling good, the back went in a totally unrelated way. Then the knee again, due to manner in which I ended up walking due to the lower back pain.

I managed to fit in a post a week through much of June -- far below my normal routine, but the need to finish the Roadshow quartet kept me focused in those few pain-free moments. And thanks to laying about a bit more, I piled up massive amounts of …

The Roadshow More Traveled, Pt. IV: Attitude is Nothing, and Neither is Your Damn Book...

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I suppose that I had seen glass fire extinguishers before, but I had never really given them pause for thought. But there they were, the fourth of five items on the list of things that the Antiques Roadshow does not appraise at their events. It just seemed such an odd, specific thing to be on a list comprised otherwise of coins, currency, stamps or vehicles. I later asked our Roadshow "in," Rod, exactly why one cannot bring, assuming one is amongst that surely limited class of collectors, a glass fire extinguisher, and his answer was pretty definite. Yes, it probably isn't a good idea to bring in an antique, fragile item filled with potent and highly combustible chemicals into a crowded convention center.

But why not my stamp collection? Rod's answer was the problem of keeping qualified experts at each show, but I also proffered up my take on it, which he agreed might be a good reason too. Go to even a relatively small town and you can find stamp and coin shops readil…

I'm Gonna Wash that Grey Right Out of My Blog!

So, you heard me whining the other day about those "little grey spots" that started to appear on my blog (but only if you were looking on a Mac) about two weeks ago. My pal Chewy couldn't see it on his end, and thus was unable to assist me. I contacted Blogger through their Help Forum, but naturally didn't hear back on this, though I never really expected anyone to do so. And as I said before, I signed up for email responses to my inquiry, which enabled me to happily (grrr...) receive a daily email, in which dozens of new and old Blogger problems were made even more confusing by the general public's inability to construct even a halfway intelligent missive. (Just because you don't have to write letters anymore doesn't mean that you shouldn't be clear when asking for help...) And, naturally, not a single response on any of these emails to my problem with the little grey spots.

In receiving the latest version of the Million Problems on Blogger email, and…

The Roadshow More Traveled, Pt. III: Stamped Out In Its Prime

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The other reason for bringing The King In Yellow to the event was not as direct as simply gaining information on the book's value. You see, I really had no choice.


I had initially wished to bring a far different item to the Antiques Roadshow, an item which I had also obtained in the exact same manner as the Chambers' book: through my granny and my various trips to Wisconsin as a youth. It was my late, great uncle Sam’s postage stamp collection. It doesn't sound all that exciting, does it? But wait...

I received this book as a child when I was flush with my own burgeoning interest in stamp collecting. I had received a starter set as a present at some juncture, and for a short while, truly became vested in the hobby. I somehow obtained a then recent set of Scott's Catalogues at some point, got a few first issue envelopes, and collected what my youthful mindset believed were stamps of truly ancient vintage: stamps from 10, 20, 30 years ago. Friends gave stamps to me by the …

There's A Little Gray Spot On My Blog Today...

...It's the same old thing as, well, the past week or so...

Somewhere, somehow, a large rectangle of grayness has splashed down on the Cinema 4 Pylon in the past ten days. If you are reading this on a PC, you probably won't see it. I have checked on about a half dozen computers at work, and it never shows up. But if you are looking on a Mac -- and I have checked on three different ones in this time, and it shows up on all of them -- then it's a different story. Since a large proportion of my personal friends and family use Macs, I am hoping that some of you out there can tell me what the hell is going on here.

If you glide down the Pylon homepage about three or four posts, you will encounter the aforementioned blot of gray, superimposed basically over about a paragraph or two of whatever post it is splotched over at that time. As I add new posts, the position of the blot on the blog changes, but since I didn't post for a couple of days over the weekend, it stayed fixed o…

The Roadshow More Traveled, Pt. II: The King In Yellow

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Before I continue with our visit to the Antiques Roadshow, I offer to the reader a rather largish nugget of background:

I first met The King in Yellow in the early 1980s in Alpha, Wisconsin, though it was only an acquaintance. The end of a pleasant vacation at Huntley’s Few Acres, my grandparents’ wonderful home (of which I am crazily nostalgic even though I was only ever there on a handful of occasions), found me leaving the environs with a brace of boxes in my possession. My granny had thrust into my hands numerous volumes of antique books that had passed down through various members of her family. Since I was nuts about books in general, she decided to send me back to Alaska with a couple of boxes full of them.

One of these books was a copy of Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, much fabled by my mother as a book (along with the poetry of James Whitcomb Riley), that would get read to the family. It was also one of the few books in the batch – outside of some Twain, Zane Grey and the …

The Roadshow More Traveled, Pt. I

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Jesus, I’m glad we didn’t bring a painting to the Antiques Roadshow this weekend.

OK, we did have a print of Jesus in hand – not Jen and myself, mind you, but Jen’s aunt – so we ended up waiting in the Prints and Posters line for a rather long while to have it appraised fleetingly by one of the Roadshow’s experts. But that line was nothing compared to the Hands Across America state of the queue of show-goers who spread themselves across the inside the Palm Springs Convention Center yesterday, their greedy hands mostly festooned with Red Skelton clown paintings. While some lines weren’t even really lines at all – one could just slide immediately up to certain areas without waiting behind a single soul – if you brought a painting to the event, you were going to be standing for a couple of hours at least, even with most appraisals taking a mere two or three minutes apiece.

Fortunately for us – Jen, her mom Sande, Jen's aunt Sue, and myself – we only had that devotional print of Sue’s, …

Spout Mavens Disc #9: The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)

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Director: Asia Argento
Palm Pictures, 1:38; color
Cinema 4 Rating: 5

Perhaps a movie can exist solely to make you glad your mom isn’t a goddamn whore.

I’m sure director/lead actress Asia Argento had artier ambitions when she took on The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, a film version of a supposedly fictionalized account of a supposedly real author’s supposed childhood, than giving me warm fuzzies about me own dear mum. But in the end, after ninety-plus minutes of extremely horrid mothering, child rape after child rape, gender confusion, religious torture and brainwashing, I felt a deeply abiding satisfaction with my own personal upbringing. The worst moments in my childhood didn’t even come within miles of even the slightest suffering the young boy in this film faces. It even nudged me into calling my mom later that evening to catch up on things, and while the onslaught of lurid imagery captured within the film still flashed behind my eyes whilst I spoke to her, I was relieved to spe…

Q: Are We Not Sets? A: We Are Dee-Vee-Arr! - Pt. 1

The latest insipid issue of Entertainment Weekly (really, why do I subscribe again?) featured a two-page spread in its television section, miles apart from the insipidity to which I am referring elsewhere in the issue, of the TV ratings for the entire 07-08 season. I do not care about ratings in the least, and am weirdly proud that many of the shows which I do favor tend to up in the bottom third of the list each week. Sure, it might mean lower ad revenue, and therefore, a short life span for my favorite shows. But at least it will keep the things I love from turning into friggin' ER, having to steal a respirator from its own set to keep itself stumbling through year after ridiculously extended year, all on rubbery legs that should have been sheared off when Julianna Margulies and George Clooney left the show. (If not then, then at least when Anthony Edwards bowed out.)

I scanned the chart fleetingly, mainly to see where How I Met Your Mother ended up (64rd, one notch below the far…

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