Life » Culture

Fiz - 12.14.05

Aw, he only has three crucifixes!

It was stumbled across at the Alternative Fair. There it was, seriously tie-dyed, seriously groovy, a little pack of goodness, and the last one left in the bin.

Series #2 of the Psychedelic Republicans Trading Cards. Oh my.

The people at may be seriously disturbed. (The Infant Assessment Journal?) That's cool. The site is a whole lot of wicked fun. (Suicidal Santa Gear!)

The Psychedelic Republicans are just one of chickenhead's many, freaky wares. We're not even completely sure why we like these trading cards so much: They don't even come with bubblegum. I guess there's just something to seeing these eight bastions of conservative Godliness through a rainbow-colored, lava-lamp-filling-smeared filter.

Admittedly, Scalia and Henry Hide look like they're having really bad trips. And Jeb Bush has serpents where his brain is supposed to be (I always did wonder about that). But I've never seen Jesse Helms look so happy! And Ashcroft? Well, let's just leave him on the velvet beanbag for a while. He's mellowing out, man. And I think he might puke.

Little bits of fun: Rumsfeld's spirit animal is the Gila Monster. He gets a four-crucifix Christian Coalition rating. And he's a compulsive arm wrestler. His friends call him "Darth Strangelove." I could have done without the "sex bomb" info, but I guess even Secretaries of Defense have needs. Who are we --- pagan, toking, logic-impaired liberals --- to judge?

--- Erica Curtis

Gertie, Nemo, and Little Sammy Sneeze

To be the first human being to see a real live dinosaur would be a marvelous thing. Audiences all over America had that very experience thanks to WinsorMcCay. Gertie the dinosaur emerged from McCay's pen onto 10,000 separate drawings which he combined into the first truly successful animation. He toured through vaudeville, entertaining audiences with his miraculous trained pet. Fortunately, film was made of his performance and is available on DVD (WinsorMcCay: The Master Edition and Animation Legend: WinsorMcCay).

But let us not praise famous dinosaurs, let us instead commemorate the centennial of McCay's other magnificent creation, Little Nemo in Slumberland. In 1905, Nemo debuted in the New York Herald as a full-page funny. McCay had worked his way through dime museums and small city advertising gigs to reach his position as staff artist at a major paper.

Responding to the incredible popularity of comic strips, McCay made four attempts (Mr. Goodenough, Sister's Little Sister's Beau, The PhuriousPhinish of PhoolishPhilipePhunnyPhrolics, and Little Sammy Sneeze) before Nemo became a cultural icon. In 1908, Little Nemo even provided the basis for a hit musical comedy in New York --- music by Victor Herbert, just off his gig as conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

ReadingLittle Nemo in Slumberlandtodayis a lot like watching 1930s animation. Unavoidably, you are seeing something that was hand-drawn. Details are present and unusual choices are made. Nemo's regular adventures through his dreams presage nothing so much as '60s alternative comics by way of the Art Deco movement. To venerate the occasion, Little Nemo in Slumberland --- So Many Splendid Sundayshas just been issued at $120, but there is an accompanying, less expensive 15-month calendar for the new explorer.

--- Craig Brownlie