Friday, July 31, 2009


MS. PRISCILLA ANCHOVY: "Greetings Ladies! This is Priscilla Anchovy, Roving Editor for Theory Corner for Women. Today we're going to sit in on the lunch-time conversation of four independent, women...four strong women who exemplify the modern woman's striving for fulfillment and self-awareness.

The chat's already started. Let's go to our remote camera and see what they're up to..."

THE GROUP: (general chatter, then...)"What'll we talk about? Men again?"

MAGNOLIA: "Wait! I've got it. Let's talk about our first boyfriends!"

THE GROUP: "First boyfriends!? Haw! Oh boy, this should be rich!"

THE GROUP: "You first Gladiola! Sit in the middle!"

GLADIOLA: "Well...(tee hee)... I feel silly talking about it, but if you insist...."

GLADIOLA: "We met in a chat room on the internet. He used to call me his lucky charm because every time we talked, something nice happened to him in real life. We discovered that we lived near each other, so we decided to take a chance and see a movie together.

It went great. Halfway through the film he put his arm around me, and I snuggled into his shoulder, just like we'd known each other for for years."

GLADIOLA: "After the film we went shopping in the mall and he bought me a beautiful tee shirt with the name "Lucky Charm" embroidered on it. It looked great. I was so happy with it that I just had to buy him something, so I bought him a bottle of cologne."

GLADIOLA: "That's when everything went South. It was a sweet-smelling cologne and he put a lot of it on, right there in the mall. We went outside to see if we could buy some ice-cream, and he was stung by a bee."

GLADIOLA: "He said it really hurt and asked if I'd drive him home. Before we could find the car he was stung by two more bees. I doused him with more cologne, thinking it would ward off the bees, but it didn't work, because inside the car he was covered with them."

GLADIOLA: "I drove to the local hospital where they had to use a steam gun to get the bees off. When I saw his face it was unrecognizable, and the steam had peeled off his skin down to the bone in some places. The doctor said he was at the brink of death. Only a higher power could help him now."

GLADIOLA: "His parents arrived soon after and we all waited anxiously in the waiting room to see how things would turn out. They were the sweetest people you'd ever want to meet, and said they were privileged to meet the girl their son called his lucky charm."

GLADIOLA: "The boy's father noticed the cologne I'd left on a table and, since he'd always been curious about that brand, he dabbed some on himself and his wife, and they went out to the parking lot to get a smoke. They were only gone ten minutes, when there was a commotion outside and they were both wheeled in on gurneys, stone dead and covered with bees.

So that's my story. The boy survived, just barely, and is a disfigured recluse who occasionally sends me emails. He still refers to me as his lucky charm. Actually, I still have the rest of the cologne. I hate to see it go to waste, so if you're interested......"

"MAGNOLIA: "My story isn't tragic, thank goodness! My boyfriend was a lawyer. I remember the day he proposed to me. He kneeled on the floor of the restaurant and with a lump in his throat he showed me an open box containing the most beautiful diamond ring you ever saw."

MAGNOLIA: "Magnolia, my beloved," he said, "I hereby give and convey to you all and singular, my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, claim and advantages of and in, said ring, together with all its sparkle, inscriptions, fuzzy felt box, satin lining in said box, and all rights and advantages with full power to cut glass, compare size, impress, develop envy in others and otherwise wear, the same, or give the same away with and without the sparkle, inscriptions, fuzzy box and satin lining, anything or any kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding."

THE GROUP: "Oh, that's terrible! Imagine talking like that to a girl! How could he have offended you that way?"

MAGNOLIA: "Offended? Oh, I wasn't offended. My Dad was a lawyer and I grew up with that kind of talk. I simply said,"I accept, provided that that acceptance of this ring and fuzzy box does not imply a legal obligation incurred now or in the future, in this galaxy or any inhabitable surface between the galaxies, including but not limited to asteroids and space platforms, and provided that amendments to this acceptance take the form of a written document duly executed by both parties.

We're going to be married in the Fall. You guys are all invited."

DAFFODIL: "Well, it was back in the old country, in Hungary! My first boyfriend and I were walking along and an old gypsy woman jumped out."

DAFFODIL: "She grabbed me by the shoulders and said, 'Before this day is done, your boyfriend will betray you! Just wait and see! For you this day is cursed!' 'Ha!' I said, 'Boy did you get it wrong, old woman! This is my birthday. All my friends'll be at the party tonight, and we're going to have a good time. Now stand aside. We'll have no more of your silly stories!"

DAFFODIL: "Well, as you can imagine the prophesy cast a pall over everything. The villagers heard about it and were afraid to come to the party."

DAFFODIL: "The gypsy, my best friend and my boyfriend were the only ones who showed up. I went into the kitchen to get them a drink and when I came out my boyfriend and my best friend were on a bench by the fire, locked in an embrace, and doing...doing...oh, it's too horrible to tell!"

DAFFODIL: "Out of my mind with fury, I reached for a poker from the fireplace. My boyfriend looked at me with horror on his face!"

DAFFODIL: "With tears streaming down my face, I struck and I struck."

DAFFODIL: "But that wasn't enough! I also strangled and strangled. When I was finished the lifeless corpse on the floor resembled a pile of bloody meat more than a human being!"

THE GROUP: "Whew! So you killed your boyfriend. Well, I guess that's understandable."

DAFFODIL: "Boyfriend? What boyfriend? No, I killed the old gypsy woman. She ruined my party."

GERTRUDE: "My boy friend was an angel, pure and simple. We were supposed to be married but while flying on a business trip over the jungle his plane crashed and he was nursed back to health by a white woman who lived in the trees and was known as 'The Queen of the Jungle.' "

Gertrude: "She nursed him back to health, and before you know it they fell in love. They lived an ideal existence near a waterfall surrounded by orchids and exotic birds. Food was naturally in abundance and animals did all their chores for them."

GERTRUDE: "One day he explained that he had to go back to civilization in order to explain himself to me, his former girlfriend. He just couldn't decide which one of us he loved more. She came back with him and got a job in the drive-thru window at Burger King."

GERTRUDE: "That's when things got really weird. She blamed me for the wretched life she was forced to lead. I'd hear footsteps on the roof at night, and wake up with tarantulas and poison snakes on my pillow."

GERTRUDE: "My boyfriend couldn't make up his mind and this infuriated the jungle queen. I feared to walk under trees lest she drop out of the branches and gorilla-bite me."

GERTRUDE: "I've been shot with blow-gun darts repeatedly. From week to week a different part of my body is always paralyzed. I don't think I can take much more."

Gertrude: "She had a big influence on the other Burger King emoloyees. They were all on my lawn last night dancing like they were demons. They whooped and shrieked, and carried around a big head made of mud and feathers that looked just like me."

THE GROUP: "Oops! Hold it there, Gertrude! It's time to get back to work!"

THE GROUP: "We'll pick this up tomorrow."

GERTRUDE: "But...but..."

GERTRUDE: "But...but I didn't finish telling you what they did with the head! They took it and....."

THE GROUP: "Tomorrow, Gertrude!"

GERTRUDE: "But I might be dead tomorrow!"

MS. PRISCILLA ANCHOVY: "Dead perhaps, but not without a fight, eh Gertrude? Modern woman marches on! Til next time: bye bye!"

THE PLAYERS: Lindsay Schulz (Ms. Priscilla Anchovy); Ericka Martinez (Gladiola); Carlyn Yeh (Magnolia); Christina Pazsitzky (Daffodil); and me, Eddie Fitzgerald (Gertrude).

ANNOUNCEMENT: I need a vacation so my next blog won't be up til this Thursday night, August 6, 2009.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


No, of course they're not, though there are exceptions. In circuses they're a necessary change of pace. In fact, it's hard to imagine a circus without them. But the circus is their domain. Why do they seem so out of place in the real world?

The history of clowning is an odd one. Apparently part of the appeal of clowning was that they got away with social satire that would have landed ordinary people in jail. They paid dearly for that freedom by confining themselves to strident, way-over-the-top slapstick. Maybe by imitating crazy people they were asking to be regarded with the deference that society grants the mad.

Clown humor is so different than modern humor, so different even from modern slapstick like the kind The Three Stooges did, that I sometimes wonder if modern humor came from entirely different roots.

Here's a painting about two different types of clowns who meet on the street and fight by proxy through their dim-witted footman.

It seems that people have had the urge to do violence to clowns for a very long time.

Here (above) a woman appears ready to deliver an eye-gouge to an already wounded clown. That's a really terrible thing to do, but it shows you how clowns were regarded. Or maybe she's just gouged the poor man. If so, she doesn't appear very sorry about it.

Early clowns wore a specific costume, denoting the exact type of comic character they were portraying. Woe unto the clown who wore the cuckold's uniform when he was instead portraying a dullard.

Clown costumes were sometimes exaggerated versions of the fashion of the day, but it's hard to resist the notion that they also gave birth to some of those fashions.

Were the people who used clothing to make funny alterations in their body shape in the 17th to 19th centuries actually trying to dress like clowns? After all, people envied clowns for their ability to say things nobody else could. When a lot of people dress that way, maybe a desire for freedom of expression and a new social order is indicated.

P.S.: None of this applies to mimes, who I have new respect for, after having tried to walk like they do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Here's a terrific one (above). It has it all: beautiful color and rendering, demons, advice from the Devil, and levitating women. Be sure to click to enlarge. You can hardly see what's going on in this tiny version.

I love this one (above). The color isn't as good, but the idea is wonderful: I'm guessing it's about an infidel magician who has penetrated into the secret enclave of a Moorish death cult. He's exposed when he tries to help a girl who's about to be sacrificed to a man-eating tiger. Only his knowledge of magic can save them now.

I don't like this poster (above). I'm a cartoonist but I take magic seriously, and I don't like to see it treated lightly as it is here.

Beautiful technique (above), but where's he rushing to? It's as if his magical powers were less important than a sale at Macy's.

Here's a good one (above). Thurston is presented as a scholar of the mystical arts. He's surrounded my mischievous demons and imps.

Another nice one (above), though the reproduction could be more colorful. Blackstone is portrayed as a man of such enormous power and mystical knowledge that his very presence rends the curtain that separates us from the demon world, and creatures from that place spill into our world all around him.

I don't know why, but the idea of lots of objects (above) floating in the air around a tied-up person intrigues me.

I like posters and magic tricks that are about cabinets (above). When we enclose a space we seem to steal that space from the nether world, and it becomes full of magical potential.

Nice poster...and big, the way all magic posters should be.

Another terrific Kellar poster (above)! The magician's presence has attracted demons who delight in helping him ensnare a space which is alive with mystical energy.

Awesome! The magician has revealed secrets to the audience (above) which were so fantastic and beyond our understanding, that he's driven his audience mad. Well, they can't say they didn't get their money's worth.

This magician's magnetism (above) sucks demons out of their own world and into ours.

A good poster (above), but it's a bit sparse. A magic poster should resemble the best of the old, crowded circus posters. It should promise more wonders than the mind can comprehend. I do like the lightning coming from his fingertips.

Here's (above) an improvement on the same theme. Demons always make a magic poster better.


I like magic tricks that involve flash explosions. These remind us of Hell, and of the violence-inducing mysteries embedded in the real, everyday world.