Saturday, October 31, 2009


Actually I had a terrific Halloween. I didn't make a "Tunnel of fear" this year, but I made lots of paper witches and goblins which I put out on the porch, and I got lots of really cute little kids at the door.

By far the most common costume was Snow White (above). There were zillions of plump little Snow Whites on my steps!

More than a few adult Snow Whites (above) too.

That's the "sexy" Little Red Riding Hood costume above. Boy, those "sexy" costumes sold big this year! I didn't actually see any Riding Hoods tonight but I show it anyway for the edification of my male readers.

Forgive me; I digress.

Now I'm a pretty good keeper of Halloween. That's because I realize that the whole kid year revolves around Halloween and Christmas. I don't know any other holiday where you can make so many people feel good with such a small investment of time and money. But....I confess that even I, Halloween enthusiast that I am, had one big lapse.

My name is eternally written in the Book Of Infamy, because one horrible year, maybe ten years ago, I darkened the house and pretended I wasn't home. I can't remember why, I just know that I'd been been feeling rotten and curmudgeonly all month. Maybe like Scrooge, I reasoned that kids should be working in textile mills and eating gruel for dinner on dirty benches. It was the winter of my discontent.

When the night came I parked my car a block away, so people would think I was out carousing. I darkened the entire house, which was devoid of decoration. It was a moonless night, and the trees and shrubs on either side of my lawn kept the house as dark and black as I've ever seen it.

The only light inside was the light from the TV which I kept so dim and nearly silent that I could hardly make out was going on...and even that was shut up behind closed drapes. It sucked to sit there in the dark like that, but I figured that I was at least safe from trick or treaters.

Well, to make a long story short, I wasn't safe. Millions of kids knocked on my door. I don't even know how they found the door without tripping in the dark. They even knocked on my window, with me sitting only a few feet away! I could hear them talking about me, wondering what happened to me.

Every new group had one kid who was an expert at ferreting out hiding adults. Just when the group would be ready to give up and leave, this kid would catch a stray photon from the TV and bring everybody back. I had to listen to whole debates about myself.

One line in particular stands out in my mind. I heard a mother talking to her kids as she approached my house with a flashlight, and she said "Wait'll you see this house. He always does something for Halloween, wait and see." She knocked and knocked, then I heard disappointed groans from the kids. Man, that hurt.

The next day seemed normal enough on the surface. None of the neighbors said anything insulting, but I could feel an icy radiation coming from them. It took six months for people to talk to me normally again.

So I'm a faithful keeper of Halloween again...not only because I love the holiday, which is so rich in color and imagination...but because I felt the lash administered to those wretches who fail to keep it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I guess everybody collects something. For me it's funny Halloween masks. I line the tops of my book shelves with them.

Here's (above) one of my favorites. Look at the planes in the face, and the beautiful lines! It has that combination of strength and grace that characterizes true art, and it's funny, too! I wish I could meet the artist who sculpted this.

A mask (above) derived from Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks." The film was fatally flawed but it had some great moments, and the Martians were originally designed by Wally Wood.

Of course, the mask doesn't do justice to the magnificent creature in the film.

Another brain Martian (above). We can only hope that real aliens from other planets are ugly bloodsuckers like this one.

Oliver Hardy (above) wearing a fez.

A Frankenstein mask, with wonderful detail in the face.

The Penguin from Batman #2!

Remember when Max Headroom's face (above) was all over the billboards and toy stores? The fedora doesn't fit, but it'll do until I can get one that does.

Here's my Bobby Bigloaf mask (above), which is sadly bland and brittle now. When I tried to restore the old shape by stuffing the mask with newspapers, it started coming apart in my hands. I lost a lot of masks that way: my old Sadie Hawkins mask, the Nairobi Trio caveman, and my Roy Orbison and Borneo cannibal masks suffered the same fate.

I'm afraid to use Amour All-type preservatives because of outgassing, and I don't want to keep the masks in plastic or in heat-safe areas where I can't see them. *Sigh!* I guess nothing lasts forever.

Haw! Mike F. just sent me this (above) Halloween news item. See what you think!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


After posting the Muskrat piece it occurred to me that I goofed up the part describing proper Ladies Auxiliary attire. I offer my humble apology. I should have realized that no real lady wants to wear a moth-eaten, old coonskin cap. Ladies of good upbringing and refinement prefer traditional straw hats with flowers.

A net on the hat is a nice touch.

Fur pieces and pearls are welcome additions if you happen to have them. Phony fur is OK, even preferable, since nobody wants to think of an animal actually dying for this.

Here's some hats (above and below) that work okay. All the women in my house left for a vacation back East, so I'm stuck with modelling them myself.

Aaaah, the traditional lone sunflower (above) on a straw hat.

Here's a hat that's a bit racy, but still okay. Maybe it belonged to a wicked city woman, or a widow who was looking for a second husband.

Easter baskets (above) make great hats.

More acceptable hats (above): pretty "out there," but still good for The Ladies Auxiliary.

Unacceptable hats: too minimal, too tasteful and too understated. They don't give testimony to the pride a woman feels for being a member of the Muskrat Ladies Auxiliary.

Also unacceptable: too avant garde. The Ladies Auxiliary is already cutting edge. Farther than the edge is...chaos...what can I say?

So what is the preferred attire for a member of The Royal Order of the Muskrat Ladies Auxiliary? It's what club women wore in the golden age of women's clubs, circa 1900 - 1960. Dressing this way doesn't limit Auxiliary women's full participation in Muskrat discussions and activities.

I thought you might find it interesting to see what club women were like in 1953. Here's a commercial showing several club women assembled for a washing machine demonstration. The range of women in the room is amazing. At one end is Betty Furness, who comes off as a super intelligent star ship captain, and at the other is a woman who sounds just like Aunt Bea. The commercial only lasts for a minute or two...just skip the rest.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


INT. HOTEL BANQUET ROOM: Members of The Royal Order take their seats.

The chairman, called The Grand, Exalted, Imperial Muskrat with Oak Leaf Clusters, pounds the gavel.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this meeting of the Royal Order of the Muskrat is called to order!"

GRAND MUSKRAT: "All rise for the Muskrat salute! 'Hail, Noble Muskrat! We, thy brothers and sisters, salute thee!' "

"Snork! Snork, Snork!"

"Chortle! Chortle! Chortle!"


"(Ahem!) You may be seated! Now let's see....the first item on the agenda is..."

"...the first item is an expression of thanks to The Ladies Auxiliary for the fine pies they've baked for us tonight! I think a round of applause is in order."

On the Ladies Auxiliary.

(SFX) Applause.

MOOSE LADIES: "Excuse us. We're the Ladies Auxiliary for the Fraternal Order of the Moose. Do you know which room they're meeting in? (THEN) Gee it's cold in here."

"Um...Fraternal Order of the Moose?...they', next door, across the hall."

MOOSE LADIES: "*Thank-yoooouuu*!"

The ladies exit.

"The Chair recognizes Brother Norton!"

BROTHER NORTON: I just want to say that we should send a delegation to those women to apologize for for exposing their delicate skin to the rigors of our cruel, masculine air conditioning. It's only right."

"You're right, Brother Norton. Thank you for proving that chivalry is not dead. I say we give them our pies as a token of our sorrow."


"On second thought, HALF the pies should be adequate compensation."


SERGEANT AT ARMS: "Mr. Chairman, one of the ladies bumped her leg on the way out."

The chairman pounds the gavel.

CHAIRMAN: "ALL the pies! That and our entire treasury!!!"

"Um... don't worry about the details. I can deliver the pies myself."

"It says here that the next item on the agenda is a demonstration for new members of The Muskrat Handshake. As this sacred handshake is for the eyes of members only, I request that the Sergeant of Arms lock the doors."

"When two Muskrats meet on the street an identifying handshake is in order. The member standing most Northward is always the initiating greeter. The greeter proudly thrusts his arm out horizontally, signifying the with his assertive attitude, the noble bearing of the North American muskrat."

"The out-thrust arm is met by the equally assertive arm of the member being greeted. The two arms align at the forearm."

"A slide is initiated, commemorating the movement of the glaciers thousands of years ago that gave rise to the woodland habitat of the modern muskrat. At the end of the slide the thumbs are engaged and the hands pivot to a new position."

"Watch closely. What happens next is full of meaning and tradition."

"The fingers stiffen then are quickly and decisively withdrawn, reminding us of the regrettable intolerance showed to muskrats by hunters and hound dogs."

"A vigorous shake of the hand symbolizes the hardships suffered by muskrats on their yearly migrations."

"And finally, the diddled-fingers-hand-to-nose represents the exalted triumph of the muskrat who, though he eats the babies of other animals, always chitters a cheerful 'Thank you!' for the meal."

"Well, I think that just about wraps it up. Any more new business? Any
old business? No?"

SFX: (raps gavel on the podium)

"...Then I declare this meeting adjourned!"

"Be well, my brothers and sisters!"

"Pssst! Sergeant at Arms! I'll deliver those pies now!"

NOTE TO READERS: The Royal Order of the Muskrat is REAL! It really meets every month or two here online at Uncle Eddie's Theory Corner. We discuss animation and cartooning, and most other subjects except politics. Members receive a discount at the Theory Corner Store, which I'll try to put up soon.

Membership is free but to be a member you must participate in at least one meeting. If you're a guy and you'd like to participate, then post a picture of yourself on your own site wearing a coonskin cap (no substitutes unless you can tinker something together that really looks like a coonskin hat), dark jacket, fringed epaulets, white shirt and a tie, and send me a link to the picture, which I'll post. Homemade versions of the epaulets are OK. (I made my own). You may post a question or comment below the picture and I'll print them when the next meeting comes up.

Girls may join the Royal Order of the Muskrat Ladies Auxiliary. All the above membership information applies, except the jacket and coonskin cap are unnecessary. Girls attire consists of what proper clubwomen wore in the golden age of womens clubs, 1900-1960: a straw hat with flowers, old-style dress, and (optional) white gloves or pearls. Skill at making pies is helpful, but not necessary.

There's no pressure to be a member. Reader response at the meetings is entirely unnecessary and, frankly, I'll be amazed if anyone actually does it. It's only for people who feel the need to participate.

P.P.S.: Kern, Hunsecker, Lester, Ardy: I am SOOOOO sorry that I accidentally deleted your comments from the previous post! I deserve death, I know!