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31 July 2008 : Bootleg T-Shirts

The phenomenon of bootleg t-shirts—off-model cartoon characters appearing in weird contexts on low-print-run shirts put out by dopey little cottage entrepreneurs—is one of those things that will always be hilarious. My earliest memory of them is the wave of now-classic "black Simpsons" t-shirts that hit its crest when I was in high school:



And they're still around! They're more popular than ever, apparently; I see people—I stress that these are grown adults sporting sizes of, like, 2 and 3XL—wearing them all the time. And now, I guess t-shirt technology has gotten affordable and widespread enough for even small-time bootleggers to gussy up their designs with all sorts of hideous shading effects and that ubiquitous bling. I hope you like dollar bills, dollar signs, and, uh, shiny shit.

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10 July 2008 : Handmade NASCAR Voodoo Doll



Handmade & stuffed Jeff Gordon replica voodoo doll; approx. 3 1/2" x 7 1/2."

I made this from scratch when Jeff Gordon came on the scene. Faithfully added pins every NASCAR race. Only quit using after Dale Earnhardt died and I eventually stopped watching. Includes attatched baby bottle.

Good condition for all its use.

One of a kind!




Questions:

(1) Did "beadcharmed" quit using the voodoo doll because she believed that her black magic had somehow backfired and played a role in Dale Earnhardt's death?

(1b) Is there some sort of voodoo / black magic underground in NASCAR fandom that I was heretofore unaware of, in which teams of white trash witches wage invisible psychic warfare during every race—a sort of New Age, homebound analog of Europe's squads of football hooligans1?

(2) Jeff Gordon "came on the scene" in 1991. Dale Earnhardt died in 2001. This voodoo doll had ten years' worth of pins stuck into it; how could it reasonably be described as in "good condition"?

(3) Why a baby bottle?

* * *

1 Okay, or like that Quidditch scene in the first Harry Potter movie :\
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1985–1994 : Catalogers and the NES

In a MARC record, the 520 field is the "summary" field: Unformatted information that describes the scope and general contents of the materials; this could be a summary, abstract, annotation, review, or only a phrase describing the material. If the publisher doesn't supply a summary of the item, catalogers have to make one up as best they can. This happens a lot more than you might think, especially with items that defy easy summaries, like video games.

I happened to find some old catalog records for NES games. I have left the spelling, grammar, and peculiarities of their contents exactly as they stand in the OCLC database.

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1987 : Micro Machines Travel City – Drive-Thru Fish & Chips

When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite toys, for reasons I could never quite put my finger on. I was delighted to discover that not only was it still in a container at my parents' house, but that all its pieces were together and in relatively good shape.



The gimmick behind the "Travel City" playsets was that the component parts of each scene were easily collapsed into the base of the city block, with room to spare for at least one Micro Machine vehicle. I found this incredibly charming, and I took my Drive-Thru Fish & Chips shop pretty much everywhere.

This image was on the packaging, and it's apparently a prototype; the actual playset looks a little different. Better, even.

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20 March 2008 : Political Cartoons from Heaven

You might remember Linda and Gerald Polley, the psychic couple that channels songs and artwork from the likes of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Jackson Pollock, and God. What you might not know is that, since writing that article, Linda has been in fairly frequent contact with me, telling me how she and Gerald are getting along and letting me know when Lennon et al. have sent down another song or animation that I might enjoy. She's really very nice to talk to, and a message from her is always a pleasant surprise.

Recently, however, Mohammed and Jesus Christ have been sending political cartoons to Earth through Gerald in support of his bid for the United States presidency in 2008. Beneath the cut, Pacific Novelty presents without comment a sampling of these cartoons and any explicatory captions that accompany them.

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1988–2008 : The Art of Amy Ning

In my experience, the covers of audiobooks are generally really bland. Either they're straight ports of the source materials' covers—which is fair enough, if a bit predictable—or they're cringeworthy digital manipulations of stock photos, any one of which could be a random screengrab from the Lifetime Network. I've seen more close, gauzy shots of women looking wistfully out of windows than I can recall.

There are some happy exceptions; the audio editions of Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who Found A Murder Weapon And Then Couldn't Get The Stupid Human To Look At It series feature niftily idiosyncratic drawings of cats by the excellent Rick Geary. And then there's the Carlotta Carlyle series of mysteries by Linda Barnes. I'd never heard of the author or the series before a few weeks ago; I'm not really a fan of mystery series in general. I've always thought that I'd like to be, but attempts to "get into" one series or another have never really taken root.

The cover of A Trouble of Fools, though, really made me stop and take notice.


A Trouble of Fools, 1993


There was something about this drawing—I'm not an artist, I've never attended art school, and I don't have the working vocabulary to really put my hands around the exact elements—that I found utterly compelling. The back of the container—which, helpfully, also pegged the drawing with a date—gave me the artist's name: Amy Ning. And you can probably guess what I did next.

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