Pith Helmet

December 31, 2007, 11:51 am
Filed under: Quotes

“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It’s healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I’ve worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold. Oh, I’ll accommodate them, I’ll rummage around for something to feed them, for a ‘vegetarian plate’, if called on to do so. Fourteen dollars for a few slices of grilled eggplant and zucchini suits my food cost fine.”

–Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential


Digital Flatulence
December 30, 2007, 5:57 pm
Filed under: culture | Tags:

“Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me.”
— Hannibal Lecter

Although I pride myself on being a bulwark against change, I recognize that we live irrevocably in the cellular age. There is no turning back. Cell phone use is an incurable infection that has spread from generation to generation as quickly as an Arnette, Texas superflu spreads from redneck to redneck .

This year, Santa Claus brought a phone to my third-grade-or-so nephew. Although what any grade-schooler is doing with a phone other than announcing to his friends which kid in their class has cooties, I’ll never know. At that age, I was too busy throwing my garbage-can lid shield at Red Skull or climbing up the schoolyard slide to get away from a school of piranhas.

I can’t throw stones, mind you. I made my Faustian pact with Verizon years ago and sealed it with my purchase of my Star Trek Communicator ringtone. But there are times and places when catchy ringtones, regardless of whether they are Mos Def or Mozart, should be disabled.

Movie theaters are one such place. Everyone seems to know that — thanks to the little reminders that the management flashes up on the screen prior to showing “our feature presentation.”

Another place is someone’s death-bed. As a loved one is passing away, nothing heightens the sense of tragedy more than the absurdity of having someone’s cell phone blurt out a pop tune as family members hover nearby for some crucial last words, a message from just-this-side-of-beyond. And, just as one should refrain from attending a funeral home visitation while wearing clown shoes, one should also avoid having one’s cell phone burst into the opening bars of a Wilson Pickett tune.

This message in manners brought to you by your friends at Pith Helmet.

Winter Wonderland Uber Alles
December 27, 2007, 11:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


The Fortean Times explores Christmas in the Third Reich: “How The Nazis Stole Christmas”

Topographic Tuesday – Kamandi’s Earth A.D.
December 19, 2007, 4:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Today’s Topographic Tuesday is a “Two-Fer.” Earth A.D. is more than just the title of a really kicking Misfits song. It is also the name of the alternate future world created by the King himself, Jack Kirby, for a DC comic called Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth. It is a world in which animals have evolved into intelligent bipeds and humans have become their prey. The title character is a long-haired Aryan youth who becomes sort of a post-apocalyptic Nat Turner when he turns on his lupine overlords.

The first map, pencilled by Kirby and inked and lettered by Mike Royer, appeared in Kamandi No. 1 as a one-page feature: “Kamandi’s Continent”, covering the area of North America of the alternate future.

The world was a brutal, yet surreal, one. It relied heavily on stereotypes. Take for example the Pacific islands. In Kamandi’s world, they are known as the “Orangutan Surfing Civilization.” Chicago is Gangland circa 1920s (only inhabited by robot mobsters). And the easternmost edge of the old Soviet Union is the “Communi-Gear Silo State.”

As a kid from a conservative family in the Expanding Tiger Empire whose favorite comics were Captain America and Sgt. Rock, I wasn’t that crazy about that straight-outta-Haight-looking Kamandi kid, even if he was drawn by Jack Kirby. My favorite character was Captain Pypar, a Bulldog Brittanek. Imagine Richard Sharpe crossbred with UGA, the University of Georgia mascot. The redcoated epitome of Brittanek stiff upper flews.

If I ever run a Gamma World game again, this is the campaign map I’m going to use.


Pith on Film: The Golden Compass
December 15, 2007, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Movies | Tags:

Wednesday, my employer gave me a shopping day. So after buying a few gifts, I headed to the local picture show to see The Golden Compass. It was 1:30. on a Wednesday afternoon, so I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd anyway, but when I entered the theater, I was still shocked to find that I was the only one there. I thought surely someone would be there: bored teens or a family who didn’t get the “Boycott Philip Pullman” email or even one of our few local flies-in-the-ointment. But there was no one except me. So I had to navigate the trek from Oxford to Svalbard solo. Not that I’m complaining. It is pretty cool having a whole theater to yourself. Especially when they rolled the I Am Legend trailer.

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Photodump Phriday
December 14, 2007, 11:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

To commemorate the release of the new I Am Legend movie, I present a special I Am Legend-only Photodump Phriday.

First, the most pulpish of the covers of the novella:
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Six-Guns & Snowflakes
December 14, 2007, 10:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I remember last Christmas, when my son was first watching one of the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer movies, being amazed that Yukon Cornelius, Rudolph’s pistol-packing peppermint-prospecting pal, was not only carrying a firearm in a kid’s movie (and a handgun at that), but was also being portrayed in a positive light. I’m accustomed to typical Hollywood hoplophobia that surfaces everywhere from The Legend of Tarzan to The Beauty and The Beast to A Christmas Story which ensures that everyone with a firearm is portrayed as either a bumbling oaf or a nefarious villain.

Instantly, Yukon Cornelius became one of my favorite Christmas cartoon characters.

Now, Steve Tompkins has posted a pulp adventure story featuring Yukon Cornelius at The Cimmerian.

[ enjoy ]

h/t The Lair of The Evil DM