Wednesday, November 30, 2011


EXT. 50S BEAT COFFEE SHOP: We hear a discussion going on inside.

EDDIE BEATNIK (VO): "So that's where the art of film is today...."


EDDIE BEATNIK: "It's caught between two poles: Fellini and Bergman. The man of heart and the man of mind."

EDDIE BEATNIK: "Fellini's simple and light hearted. Inside he's a child and through his vision we relive...well, you know." 

EDDIE BEATNIK: "Bergman on the other hand...what a cold fish! Did you see 'The Silence?' I thought it would never end. Bergman's just a rehash of Ibsen, only it's all done with stares instead of dialogue."  

BEATNIK EDDIE: "I'm afraid cinema will never reach maturity until it rediscovers heart. 

BEATNIK #1 (VO): "Yeah, heart!" 

BEATNIK #2 (VO): "Without heart film is nothing!"

BEATNIK #3: Dig it, Man. Without heart, life is nothing!"

Eddie looks for something.

EDDIE BEATNIK: "Anyone got a light? I can't find my matches."

BEATNIK #1 (VO): "Hey, you're putting me on the spot, man!"

BEATNIK #2 (VO): "Yeah, like matches cost money. Cats should use their own matches."

BEATNIK #3 (VO): "Dig it, man! In life you gotta have your own bread! No mooching!" 

BEAT GIRL: "Gee, that's too bad. I could use a light, too."

SPEED SFX: ZWOOT! ZWOOT! ZWOOT! as several arms race into sc., to light her cigarette. 

BEATNIK #1 (VO): "Let me lay it on you, Sister!"

BEATNIK #2: "Here's a light! Keep the lighter!"

BEATNIK #3 (VO): "I have a pocket full of lighters! Take them all!

BEATNIK #4 (VO): "I have a whole house full of lighters! 'Wanna see them!?""

BEATNIK #5 (VO): "Do you need a ride home? How about a sandwich?"

BEATNIK #2: "Eddie, I agree with your opinion about Fellini, but you got Bergman all wrong. He's witty. Actually Bergman is more like Fellini than somebody like Rossellini."

BEATNIKS # 3 and 4: "Rossellini's the main dude. Even Fellini copies him."

BEATNIK #5: "But does Rossellini have heart? That's the question."

BEATNIK #6: "Does Fellini have brains? THAT'S the question!"

 BEATNIK #7: "Yeah! Fellini thinks we're all interested in his fantasies about fat girls."

BEATNIK #7: "I don't think Fellini would know what to do with a real woman. In fact, I think Fellini is......" 



OUCH! I scratched my lip on the French Press I was holding, and the computer wouldn't let me retake the shot. Oh, well. The girl in the background is my assistant chef, Magnolia.


GOOD MORNING!!! I don't know about you, but I'm going to have a cup of coffee...a faux cafe latte, actually...made The Theory Corner way. What way is that? Read on!

The Theory Corner way uses a French Press, a milk frother and a bean grinder. None of this stuff costs very much, and pressed coffee doesn't take long to make.

Okay, you put the water on to boil. Lots of people use hippie water (bottled water) but I use filtered tap water. Nobody in LA needs to use bottled water in the winter months, because our water in that time of year comes from the High Sierras, and is top quality. During the Summer we buy water from Nevada, and that's murky, so if you're from Southern California and you feel you must buy bottled water, then that's the time to do it.

Anyway, while the water's boiling you grind your coffee beans in one of those little counter top grinders like the one pictured above. I like Starbucks coffee, French Roast Bold, Whole Bean. You can get Starbucks brand coffee at the supermarket. Grind the beans "coarse," which takes about 9 seconds.

The water hasn't come to a boil yet, so you can get started on the milk froth. I recommend buying a frother (pictured above, on the right...on the left is the French Press) but if you don't have one, just put some milk in a jar, shake it vigorously, and put it in the microwave for about a minute. Now you have milk froth.

Put the milk aside, and add the ground coffee to the French Press, along with a tiny pinch of salt, some sugar, and maybe a drop of vanilla extract. Pour in the boiling water. At the 1/5  mark stop and stir the coffee and water. [Magnolia's doing it wrong here...the idea is to stir only when the level is very low]. Never stir it again after this. Pour in the rest of the boiling water and let it all steep for four minutes: no more, no less. At exactly four minutes, press the plunger down slowly...about thirty seconds for the whole plunge.

Now you're ready to pour the coffee into a cup. I put a little froth on the bottom, beneath the coffee, and the rest on top. A lot of people prefer to have all the froth on top. Add some whipped cream and cinnamon or nutmeg and you're done. Maybe eat a piece of banana bread with it. Delicious...but it doesn't stay warm very long.

A video to help you get started:

Alton Brown uses a burr grinder. One of these days I might get one, but my humble little blade grinder works so well that I see no reason to change.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Oops! I missed a day! Sorry, I've been Christmas shopping and cleaning up the house for the holiday when my whole little family'll be together under one roof again. 

I'm still working a little bit at a time on my two beatnik posts (samples above and below). I've also been reading some interesting stuff which I can't wait to tell you about.   

I'll be back tomorrow!

Friday, November 25, 2011





Wow! Rubens would have loved this model (above)! I'm tempted to do a whole post about this one fascinating woman, but I'll restrain myself and simply point out that she's leaning forward on the profile shot. 

LOTS of women (above) lean forward like this. I'll hazard a guess that it has to do with the effects of standing straight after wearing high heels all day, but I could be wrong. Maybe a lot of men stand this way too, and I just never noticed. 

Anyway, thinking about this might change the way I caricature busty women. Maybe women like that need to lead with their chests, at least in a subtle way.  Either that or they have to compensate for the weighty front by arching their torso way back. Either way it's a nice, cartoony effect.

Here's (above) a fascinating bean-shaped model, who I assume is pregnant. I used to be a bit bean shaped myself but I seem to have morphed out of it. It's a great, cartoony look. "Blessed With the Bean," says Robert Crumb. 

Hmmmm, come to think of it, the upper legs on this model are still thrust forward. 

Here's (above) a modified bean. Or maybe you'd call it an "S" Curve. Notice how the body doesn't sit on top of the hips, rather it thrusts out and up on a 45 degree angle. George Bridgeman favored models like this. As the years go by I appreciate Bridgeman more and more. 

About 20% of all men and women (above) have bottoms that appear to be Scotch Taped upward.  Most people's butts feel the effect of gravity, and their weight causes them to flair out at the bottom like an up-side down pear.  Not so for taped-up people. Their bottoms have no weight. It's as if they were filled with helium. You wonder if people like that have to struggle to stay attached to the ground.  

I'll end with this interesting study (above) of a woman with a big chest compensating for the frontal weight in two different ways, one of them very cartoony. I notice the pose on the right includes a forward thrusting head. Fascinating!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Many thanks to Mike Fontanelli for the tres cool pictures of past Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades. Wow! How beautiful these balloons are! No wonder the parade attracted such big crowds. The gradual reveal of things like Pinocchio's enormous nose could only be appreciated by people who saw it in person. TV wouldn't have done it justice!

A magnificent crow (above), but who are the people who are carrying it? I like to think they're members of a secret society who just couldn't resist showing off their club's symbol.

Half the fun of any parade is watching people (above) in the crowd. I notice the kids in this picture are wearing the kind of clothes worn by the kids in the "Christmas Story" movie. My parents used to dress me like that. Only the cheeks were unprotected, and they froze like crazy!

Here's (above) Uncle Sam protecting everybody.

Unbelievable! Look at that crowd (above)! What if someone in there had to pee? How would he have done it?

A wild turkey takes flight (above). Look at those crazed eyes!

This (above) is indisputably the best Superman balloon ever to grace the parade!

People in those days (above) certainly had a taste for cartoon weirdness! Balloons today are too perfect, too middle of the road, too on-model.

I like how every parade ended with Santa, who was surrounded by dozens of beautiful women. Boy, Santa was the Hugh Hefner of his day!

When I was a kid nobody did any Christmas shopping til after Thanksgiving. Nobody tried to beat the crowds by shopping early, they just waited til the last minute then everybody shopped at the same time, shoulder to shoulder...what an ordeal!

Christmas shopping for us kids was easy. Mothers got quart bottles of cheap perfume or fuzzy slippers. Dads got ties. We kids really believed that they treasured those presents, and we devoted a lot of time to making sure that they used them.

My favorite thing to do was to visit the toy departments (above) in the big department stores. Sometimes they'd devote half of a whole floor to toys, and they were the kind of toys you couldn't get in your local neighborhood shops: chemistry sets, air rifles, Erector Sets, marionettes, space ships and space helmets, toy soldiers...what a feast! There was always a giant diorama showing all the top of the line toy trains weaving in and out of mountain tunnels and trestles. It was heaven for kids but hell for adults, who had to pry their crying kids unwilling fingers from toy shelves when it was time to go home.

Oh, well...enough nostalgia! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Haw! From Allan Holtz's "Stripper's Guide" blog (link in the sidebar) comes yet another roundup of little-known comic strips of a hundred years ago. How do you like "Mr. and Mrs. Pippin" by the same artist who would later do Moon Mullins? Click to enlarge.

Boy, it was hard to make a living as a cartoonist even then!

Here's (above and below) a melodrama by girl artist Russell Patterson.

This (above) looks later than the other strips here, maybe from the 30s or 40s. 

I just can't get enough of the early Herriman. This is a fairly typical Herriman daily... from 1906, I think. 

Above, the relentless law of the cartoonist's universe: be funny or die!

This artist (above) isn't what you'd call wildly innovative, but his compositions are easy on the eye, and he manages to project a quietly happy and friendly tone. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


If you're a guy, and you want to make your mother happy, there's no easier way to do it than to send her a picture of yourself in a suit. All parents, no matter how laid back, no matter how criminally inclined or grody they are, yearn to see a picture of their son in a well-tailored suit. Photo editing software makes that easy to do, so why deny that simple pleasure to them? Why not send them a distinguished picture of yourself this very day? Here's a little help from the staff of Theory Corner...

First, you'll need a good picture to graft your head onto. I recommend the one above, which I believe is the young Humphrey Bogart. It's black and white, which avoids color matching problems, and the pose is simple and direct.

Here's (above) a photo of my own face grafted onto Bogart's body.  I took a black and white picture of myself with the computer's camera,  cut out my face using the Lasso Tool, and slid it over Humprey's face with no further adjustment. I just can't believe how quick and easy it all was. The flat lighting on my my face, the ghost image, the chicken feathers coming out of my cheek...none of these flaws were bad enough to prevent the picture from being a parent pleaser.

Of course, Humphrey might not be to every one's taste. How about Errol Flynn (above) instead?

Or Tyrone Power (above)?

One more photo: this one to send to wives, not mothers. Put your face over Tyrone's.