Archive - January 2007
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January 30th, 2007
Today is my birthday.

But to EVERYONE else, today is National Gorilla Suit Day's Eve...
Feh. If only I had been born on December 25th--THEN I'd be getting a bit more attention, that's for sure!

(On the plus side, chocolate birthday cake followed by January 31st's traditional banana cream pie certainly is one tasty one-two punch! MmmmMMMM!!...)
January 27th, 2007
Wanna hear about the fish sandwich I had for lunch yesterday?

No? Then how about the company I had it in?

I drove over to my old stomping grounds of Kingston--about forty minutes north--and arrived a bit earlier than the rest of my party at the local Red Lobster. That select little group included my good buddy Terry Austin (the ringleader of the event), my former neighbor Joe Staton, and a star-studded Saugerties contingent: Joltin' Joe Sinnott, his son Mark, granddaughter Erin, and the proprietor of Catskill Comics, Scott Kress! The ever-elusive Herb Trimpe was SUPPOSED to join us, but had to cancel at the eleventh hour due to obligations to out-of-town relatives.

(Herb, by the way, has begun teaching one of those one-full-day-a-week central studies courses at Julie's high school, centering around how to do comics, natch. Julie's not in that class, taking photography instead, but it still blows my mind--the man who drew the Hulk on the cover of the ROLLING STONE (which I can still vividly recall seeing for the first time while walking down the streets of NYC with my buddies on one of our occasional visits into the Big Apple during my senior year), now that very same guy is affiliated with the high school my daughter is attending HER junior year? Whew! AND I almost had lunch with him! Almost...)

But even without Mr. T, there was enough fun--and fish--to go around! The Sinnotts--each and every one of them--are always a lively bunch, and it was good to see Joe out and about following some trying times. I not only learned that rocker Graham Nash (of CSN&Y) is a big comics fan who once got in touch with the legendary Marvel artist, but that Joe's father long ago appeared in a 1917 silent film entitled "Saugerties Romance"! Mark said that the film is presumed lost, and when I suggested that he Google it (which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is my answer to most everything these days), he admitted that the thought had occurred to him, but he was a little reluctant to cuz, well, who KNOWS what'd come up if you type in "Saugerties Romance"?

We talked about comics, about TV, about baseball, even about Harlan Ellison (I'll have to give the Sinnotts his address so they can all send our festive Mr. E Christmas cards next year!)! It was great to see the OTHER Joe S again too, as well as having more than a few fleeting moments to talk to Scott, as has usually been the case in the past (Mr. K brought his camera, by the way, a thought I also had but passed on--if any photos turn up, I'll be sure and alert you). I learned all sorts of stuff: Mark's teenage daughter Erin explained the origins of the word Google--even though her grandpa stubbornly continues to associate it with a fellow by the name of Barney!

And while I'm admittedly not all that big on fish, my sandwich was pretty good (but French fries OR cole slaw? Geez, for the amount of cole slaw they bring, would it kill Red Lobster's profit margin to give you BOTH?...).

Overall, it was a delightful way to spend a few hours on a cold January afternoon, and I'm hoping that we can do it again soon! At the very least, we should keep trying until we can finally rope in Herb Trimpe for a little bread-breaking! I don't know about you, but I've always sorta wondered where the Hulk got those table manners of his. If Herb orders a can of beans, jagged top still loosely attached , well, I'll finally know, won't I?....
January 25th, 2007
Round, round, you'll get around, when you follow today's links all over the net!

First and foremost--hey, this IS my site after all--let me point you to The Fred Hembeck Show, Episode 88! Not only do you get to experience an all-new tribute to Al Jardine (yes, Al Jardine) for your trouble, the comics fans amongst you can scroll down and read a reprint of a vintage MARVEL AGE strip featuring not only Cartoon Fred, Brother Voodoo, four of the Beach Boys (including Al, natch), but the legendary surfing band's NEW vocalist! WHO might that be? Hey, that link's not there for my health, y'know--use it!!

Then there's Jim Keefe. Jim is a very talented artist I recently met over on MySpace (and to the best of my knowledge, he's not even a pre-teen girl! Imagine that...). For nearly a decade, Jim both wrote and drew the syndicated Flash Gordon strip, and during that time, he orchestrated a tribute page to the great Al Williamson, drawn by--oboy!-- Al Williamson himself! Jim pointed me towards this delightful feature, and now I'm cluing the rest of you in! And if that weren't enough, here's a link to the opening page of a series Jim provides illustrating, step by fascinating step, just exactly how he and Al collaborated to assemble this strip! Wonderful stuff--thanks for sharing, Jim!

I've been a bit lax in aiming you toward my buddy Roger Green's blog in recent weeks, but there's no way I can pass over TODAY'S entry! Rog lists his favorite 15 CDs of 2006, and coming in on top, ahead of such rock legends as Springsteen, Dylan, and even the Beatles themselves is Roger's top pick, SpongeBob SquarePants "The Best Day Ever"!! Who'd a thot? Hey Ken Plume--tell Tom Kenny next time you speak with him! Maybe he can give Rog a thank you call! (I sit by the phone until the late, late hours of night, waiting for mine. Someday, I'm sure, someday...)

In other news, Wrong-way Julie's next try at her driver's license is scheduled for Valentines' Day! Y'think bringing along a box of chocolates might help?...

Lastly, a request for some help. As I've mentioned here a while back, I've recently begun a small gag strip (called "Nuff Said") in Marvel's faux promo newspaper. THE DAILY BUGLE. Well, Marvel kindly sent me a few comp copies of the first issue (which my strip wasn't in), as well as the third and fourth issues (which it was in), but, despite several inquiries, no copies of the second issue, featuring the debut of my silly little feature. If anybody out there has a copy of said second issue (with my groanalicious Loki gag) that they'd be willing to part with, please contact me! I'd very much appreciate it!

Okay, we're done here--go forth and check out the links! It's sure to be (you should pardon the expression), fun, fun, fun!!
January 24th, 2007
"Wrong side of the road"--folks, that's ONE penalty ANYONE'D be hard pressed to successfully surmount while taking a road test in hopes of getting one's drivers license, as daughter Julie found out earlier this morning!

Yeah, she failed. Poor kid. I was mildly surprised, too, as I've been riding shotgun with her practically every day since late last August, and she really took to this driving stuff quick like. But I also knew she was nervous about taking the test, and I figured if anything would trip her up, it'd be the jitters. Looks like I was right, because she also screwed up the parallel parking.

I know what you're thinking--NO ONE likes the parallel parking portion of the test, but lemme tell you, this girl has had a knack for it right from the first time she attempted it! Given the horrible way I tried to squeeze in between two cars on Poughkeepsie's Main Street last spring with Julie in the car, she rightly turned to her mom for instruction on THAT key point of driving! Which was fine with me--I rarely have the opportunity to practice the maneuver, and believe me, it showed that day back last March! If license's were REVOKED for bad parallel parking, I'd be taking the bus these days, no doubt about it!

But after just one evening's lessons with mom, we unexpectedly found ourselves on the selfsame busy boulevard in Poughkeepsie, Julie behind the wheel, and the only available parking space nestled between two cars! I wanted her to keep going to maybe find something easier to ease into, but she was confident that she could do what needed to be done! Folks, aside from the very first day she went out on a busy road with me sitting helplessly beside her, it was the most nervous I'd been with her in the driver's seat! I was practically reaching into the glove compartment to get out the necessary insurance information before she'd even hit anything! I gritted my teeth, held my breath, listened to my rapidly beating heart---

--and she pulled our car in effortlessly between the pair of thankfully still nick-free automobiles parked both in front and behind us! What a relief, but as I was to learn, NOT a fluke--the girl NEVER did a poor job parallel parking in all the time she practiced with me (in less congested situations, thankfully), including the half-dozen attempts she made Tuesday evening.

But today she clearly blew it. Worst parallel parking job of her young career--she readily acknowledges that. So that, among other things, sank her hopes of going solo. Good thing in a way, though--if getting her license hinged solely on this whole "wrong side of the road" matter, there would have been more than a little complaining from these quarters!

HOW do you look past something like that, you're probably wondering? Well, sure, I wasn't there, natch, but the way it was related to me was like this: Julie was driving down a one-way street, one with cars parked on both sides of the street, and the instructor told her to make a left-hand turn at the end of the street. Julie's error, it seems, was that when she prepared to make that turn, she was still in the middle of this one-way street, not having moved over as far left as she could to make the turn! I don't know--sounds kinda fishy to me. She says she was attempting to keep away from the parked cars on the left side, and hey, it WAS a one-way street! But still, they penalized her for being on the wrong side of the road when she made the turn! Sure sounds worse than it was (I mean, the same boo-boo on a TWO-way street would be a far more troubling infraction, wouldn't you think?), and her friends at school all got a big laugh at seeing it emblazoned in black and white on the print-out the motor vehicle folks provided her afterwards!

I have no doubt she'll pass the next time, as long as she reins in her nerves--and having had the experience of a first try, odds are she will.

In the meantime, I'm thinking "Wrong-way Julie" would be a fun li'l nickname, don'tcha think?
January 23rd, 2007
Y'know, maybe I'm wrong, but I coulda sworn I just heard one of the commentators on MSNBC announce that the President is planning to devote a small but significant amount of time during his State of the Union Address later tonight to promote the nation-wide celebration coming up a week from tomorrow...
Man, what that guy won't do to get his poll numbers up!...

All well and good, Mr. President, but I vow not to rest until the government's calendar features ANOTHER national holiday:

Captain Klutz's birthday!
Um, by the way, does anybody out there know exactly WHEN that is? Drop me a line if you do--information like that could be a big, big help in my efforts!

Hail Karbunkle!
January 18th, 2007
Just so you know, the 87th episode of The Fred Hembeck Show is now posted over at Quick Stop Entertainment.. This week's entry is all-new, and features six of my Classic Cover Redos, five of which haven't been seen online before, and all of which are graced by the presence of at least one member (sometimes more) of the legendary Justice Society of America! So if I were you, I'd be up and Atom, and over there in a Flash! Do I think my wife Lynn will check it out? I'm not sure, but I Spectre to...

Ahem. Well, as promised, I've been trying my level best attempting to avoid any and all details concerning the opening four hours of this season's "24", and I might well've managed that trick nicely, too--IF A NEWS STORY ABOUT IT HADN'T TURNED UP ON MSNBC'S "COUNTDOWN"!!

Oh sure, I looked away during most of the excerpted clips, but even then, not only did I learn things aren't looking too good for L.A., I also had to hear my favorite newsman, Keith Olbermann, strongly suggest that my favorite show ("24", remember?) is actually little more than a weekly dose of fear-mongering, right wing propaganda, designed by Fox to keep viewers worried about the prospect of an actual terrorist attack, and thus, more amenable to any and all moves, however questionable, made by the current administration! Yeesh--who'da ever thought I'd share the same view habits as Dick Cheney? (Gee, do you think Bush is a fan too? Or is he too busy watching reruns of "Mama's Family"?...)

Let's talk about the weather for a moment--the forecast is for a dusting of snow hereabouts Friday night (less than an inch), and if it happens as predicted, that'll be, on January 18th, here in slightly (ninety minutes from the Big Apple) upstate New York, THE FIRST SNOW OF ANY KIND THAT WE'VE SEEN ALL SEASON!!! (I'm a little cap-crazed today apparently--pardon the noise) One day last week, I went out shopping, and in the course of my drive, I saw three single flake flurries, in three separate locations, each at least ten minutes apart--and that's been IT! Unbelievable.

When no snow showed by the first of January, NYC weather records showed that the last time the city had zippo snow through the end of December was way, way, way, WAY back in 1877! That's 1877, NOT 1977! Y'know, I'm thinking this has GOT to be clear cut evidence of global warming, but some people just don't want to admit such a thing is possible! And as always, comics seemed to get blamed for everything, and this climate calamity is no exception! I was watching TV the other day, and I coulda sworn I heard the announcer lay the blame for this unseasonable weather squarely at the feet of (of all people) ALEX NINO!! Huh--can you beat that?...

And lastly, while we're talking about comics, I was saddened to learn of the passing of long-time Charlton work horse, Joe Gill. I'm telling ya, the way that man churned out scripts for the firm, whoever had the typewriter ribbon franchise in Derby, Connecticut sure must've done all right for themselves! Sigh--another name from my formative days, gone. If I were wearing a hat, Joe, I'd gladly tip it to you...
January 13th, 2007
The new season of "24" begins tomorrow night, and early reviews would seem to indicate that it'll be the most intense day yet for Jack Bauer (shown above after spending 20 months in a Chinese prison following the end of last year's escapades).

Let's hope they're right and the CTU agent doesn't have to spend the first 23 of those hours in a barber's chair!

(Insert link to pod-cast of rim-shot here)

But seriously folks, you all know by now how much I love that show, but do me a favor--keep any comments about the first few episodes to yourselves, at least for the time being, okay? I'm gonna try and duplicate last year's initial viewing schedule--tape the two on Sunday, the two on Monday, then episodes five and six the subsequent two Mondays, finally sitting down for a six hour marathon at the end of January, sort of as a little birthday present to myself. But for this to be effective, I need to remain completely ignorant of key plot details (if not necessary grooming procedures), so let's all say "shhh!", shall we? Once I jump in, I'll let you know what I think, worry not. In the meantime, I still have three "Gomer Pyle USMC" discs to watch (imagine Vince Carter, counter-terrorist agent! The mind just boggles...).

By the way, if anyone out there was put off by my annual Bat-bashing yesterday, I recommend as a suitable tonic Jim Salicrup's January 12th MySpace Blog where my old buddy recounts a near-meeting with TV's Caped Crusader back when he was still know as Li'l James, as well as a more recent (and more successful) encounter with the legendary (or is that infamous?...) Adam West! Good job, old chum!

And apropos of nothing--but something I've wanted to note for awhile now--I thoroughly recommend John Firehammer's This Is Pop Culture site as a terrific place to keep up with all the news a fan of my, um, vintage, might want to know! I get most of my comics AND Beatles news from John's page--and when it was announced that the Ringo Starr/Stan Lee animated collaboration would soon be issued on DVD, I read about it first at This Is Pop Culture! So, if you're looking for a quick, one stop news source, you could do far worse than bookmarking John's site! (And note to "Lost" fans--Mr. F seems to be as obsessed with that show as I am with "24", and that's saying something! Check it out, island travellers!...)
January 12th, 2007
Y'know, growing up, there was really only one day of the year that I specifically associated with something that was comic book related (no, not Stan Lee's birthday--that's something I became aware of only after I began regularly posting on this blog), and that date was--surprise, calendar fans!--January 12th.

Because forty one years ago today, the "Batman" TV show debuted to my great expectations, but instead left me living in a bleak house (and ain't THAT a Dickens of a reference, huh?...)

Look, there's no need to rehash what I said last year on the program's fortieth anniversary--click here for the January 2006 Fred Sez Blog Archives and scroll down to (you guessed it) the January 12th entry if you need a refresher course. Nothing new to say otherwise.

However, just to properly mark the occasion, I thought I'd offer up a few more of the Scotch tape stained clippings I've obsessively saved from the Batmania era, starting with the article that accompanied the Journal-American TV section cover that I ran here exactly one year ago today...
Then there's this, a little in-house promo cartoon from (I think),the long defunct Long Island Press, obviously prepared BEFORE the show's debut, seeing as how it heralds the arrival not only of Batman (and Tabitha!), but the other of ABC's short-lived "Second Season" entries as well! Imagine if the country had instead been overcome by Phyfemania--what a strange, different, and (perhaps?) wonderful world we'd be living in now!...
Lastly, here's a photo of the Caped Crusader's proud poppa, Bob Kane, reveling in his new-found fame...
Y'know, if one could read the thought balloon no doubt hovering over the giddy Kane's noggin, it might very well've read, "Holy scam, Bat-buddy! The woman I hired to do this oil painting for me did such a great job, once I sign my name to it, I'm sure to rake me in a couple thousand bucks!"

And then, just like millions of others back in 1966, he got up, went off into the next room, and began doing the Batusi.

Hey, can you BLAME 'im?
January 11th, 2007
Today, I offer up a link to transport you on over to the aptly numbered 86th episode of The Fred Hembeck Show, an all-new recounting of a series of snafus yours truly endured last Friday evening! Watch me suffer over decidedly trivial setbacks--oh, the fun!
January 8th, 2007
HAPPY 81st, SOUPY!!!...
...too bad you didn't make it to 72, Elvis...
I'll be eagerly playing each one of the above CDs today!

"Panic In Detroit"!

"If I Can Dream"!

"Because of Black Tooth"!

January 8th was, in the words of the Bizarro version of "American Pie", the day the music was BORN!
January 4th, 2007
I'm afraid I'm a little pressed for time right about now, but I did want to let you know that Episode 85 of The Fred Hembeck Show has been posted!

More anon!
Janaury 1st, 2007

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