Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Zero Hour, Part 1

Company-wide crossovers in comic books are a standard gimmick to get people to buy more comic books. The first of these was Marvel Comics' Secret Wars that ran from May 1984 until April 1985. DC Comics got into the company-wide crossover game in April 1985 with Crisis On Infinite Earths which was been in production since 1982. In it, DC attempted to streamline their universe and reboot a few of their characters. Initially, the idea was deemed a success but as the years went on, more continuity errors emerged and it was time again for a streamlining of the DC Universe. Following the aftermath, and using many of the same characters, of Armageddon 2001, Zero Hour: Crisis In Time officially began in Showcase '94 #8 on June 2, 1994. The first issue of Zero Hour: Crisis In Time (#4, as the series counted down from #4 to #0) would be released on July 14, 1994.

Zero Hour holds a special place in my heart as it was my first company-wide crossover. I had started reading comics in late 1992 with the Death of Superman. I even attempted to collect every comic with the Zero Hour banner on it. I got about a dozen issues and that was it. 2019 was the 25th anniversary of Zero Hour and to commemorate the occasion, DC Comics released an omnibus that collects every issue of the Zero Hour crossover. Over 1,000 pages of...fair and middling stories.

The story starts out with Waverider and Rip Hunter discovering some sort of disruption of the time stream. Believing the disruption to be caused by Hank Hall, now Monarch but previously Hawk of Hawk and Dove, they go to find the cause. Turns out that Monarch is plotting something but the time disruptions are not his doing. After a short battle, Monarch upgrades himself to Extant and takes Waverider's time travel wristband enabling Extant to bounce back and forth through time. Rip Hunter reveals that Monarch was originally supposed to die during their battle but is now more powerful than ever and all of time is at stake.
Showcase '94 #9 by Dan Jurgens, Frank Fosco, Ken Branch.
Batman is the first to undergo a change in his timeline as, in an effort to protect his parents, Bruce Wayne was the one shot and killed leaving Thomas and Martha Wayne to mourn their child. Batman spends the night hunting for the killer but young Bruce wasn't killed by Joe Chill but by someone else. He then realizes that he has his parents back and races back to Wayne Manor only to find everything back to normal. Batman would go on to a timeline where Batgirl wasn't shot and paralyzed by the Joker and the goofy 1940s Alfred showing up. This is what happens with some of the characters: They meet past versions of themselves or enter an alternate timeline. The Flash was dealing with the discovery of a young speedster named Impulse. Because of Impulse, The Flash winds up in the 64th Century where time is starting to be eaten by entropy. It's theorized that if Flash runs fast enough he could create a shockwave big enough to collapse the time rift.
Zero Hour #4 by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway.
Sadly it doesn't work and The Flash is vaporized and the entire century is erased. Waverider and Hunter go to 5800 A.D. where Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) is there. Green Lantern is also unable to stop the rift. All the different incarnations of Hawkman are combined into one single character. As more centuries from the past and future are erased, Waverider realizes that there used to be more than one universe--a multiverse--that was consolidated into just one universe and that is the reason for the disruptions and creates the perfect opportunity for someone to go in and change all of time. With the help of Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, Superman and Metron, Waverider gets a message out to all the other heroes to meet at Vanishing Point and get ready for battle.
Zero Hour #4 by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway.
Zero Hour does a great job of confining the main story in just the five issues but also showing what is going on in other titles. Superman meets up with every version of Batman, reunited with his Kryptonian parents, met Alpha-Centurion: the protector of Metropolis, and his parents in the 1940s who weren't blessed with a baby from the stars. Green Lantern is given a history by original Green Lantern Alan Scott, the Legion of Super-Heroes are trying to save the 30th Century from blinking out of existence while seeing their pasts be altered as well, the original Superboy returns to inspire the Legion and then sent to face off against the new Superboy that was introduced during the Reign of the Supermen.
Valor #23, by Kurt Busiek, Colleen Doran, Dave Cooper.
Zero Hour #3, by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway
In New York City, all the heroes gather and try to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, at Vanishing Point, the Justice Society are trying to find out a way to help since they've had their own experience with time anomalies. When the JSA arrives, Extant is already there while Waverider, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl, enter the timestream to help create a god out of Hawkman. Extant uses his powers to re-age the Justice Society. Atom, Dr. Fate, Hourman all die of old age while Wildcat and Dr. Midnight are now upwards of 80-years-old. Only Alan Scott and Jay Garrick (The Golden Age Flash) make it out unscathed and they opt to retire instead of continuing on.
Zero Hour #2, by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway

The series Team Titans does an interesting issue where they show normal people going through the time rifts. Non-powered humans having to deal with dinosaurs, cowboys and Native Americans, protests from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and of course their own villain trying to use this opportunity to do evil instead of just taking a day off. Entropy continues getting closer and is right on the heels of this century. Our heroes are able to use their energies along with Metron's Mobius Chair to close up the rift saving everything...for the moment. In the 30th Century, a mysterious figure has arrived to reopen the rift and almost immediately things begin erasing anew.
Zero Hour #2, by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Norman Willey

Norman Willey, 1895.
The State of Idaho originally began its life in the United States as part of Oregon Territory. When Oregon became a state, Idaho became part of the new Washington Territory until Washington became a state. The new Idaho Territory existed for 27 years and was almost legislated out of existence by splitting Idaho between Washington and Nevada. Idaho became a state on July 3, 1890. George L. Shoup was appointed Idaho Territorial governor by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889. When Idaho became a state the following year, he was elected the first governor. Shoup was then elected to the U.S. Senate by the Idaho State Legislature and he resigned in December 1890. Shoup would serve in the Senate until 1901, winning reelection in 1895. Shoup would retire and pass away in 1904. The man who succeeded Shoup in the governorship was Norman Bushnell Willey, who was the Lieutenant Governor. Willey would only accept the lieutenant governorship if he was guaranteed that Shoup would be elevated to U.S. Senator. It was agreed and within two and a half months, Willey was the second governor of the State of Idaho.

Norman Willey was born in Guilford, New York in 1838 to Hiram and Caroline Willey. At the age of 20, Norman moved to California to start mining. He continued as a miner when he moved to Idaho in 1864. He also became involved in politics serving on a board of commissioners and school board, along with being elected county treasurer and county school superintendent. He was later elected to the territory legislature, serving in that capacity until Idaho became a state. Willey helped oversee the government transition from territorial to state, helped choose the state seal and oversaw a mining dispute. He served as governor until 1893 and lost his party's nomination to William McConnell, who then became governor.

Willey then went back to mining in California but sadly his fortunes would be no more. Health failing and penniless, Willey came to Kansas to live with his sister, Phoebe Black, on her and her husband's farm near Dover. He arrived in 1918. Phoebe died in the summer of 1921 and Willey gave up on life. Blind, deaf, and nearly unable to speak, he went to the Shawnee County Poor Farm where he lived for about three months before passing away. Willey died on October 20, 1921 but it took nearly two weeks before anyone knew that this man was of some importance.
Headline from Topeka State Journal, Nov. 4, 1921.

William R. Black, Willey's brother-in-law, alerted people to his identity and the news of Willey's death was sent across the country instead of just being a local story. The State of Idaho did grant Willey a pension, of sorts, when they heard news he was so sick but it wasn't enough. Willey also numerous well-off relatives who also offered no help. Willey had no children and was a bachelor. He was buried in the Black family plot with his sister Phoebe, her husband William, who died in 1927, their father, Hiram (d. 1895), and Minnie Dillman, a girl adopted by the Blacks, in Auburn Cemetery in southwestern Shawnee County, Kansas.
photo from Find A Grave
Norman Willey, 1904 illustration
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Greensburg Angel


As W.A. Sinklier unlocked the door to his art gallery on November 12, 1916 in Greensburg, Kansas, he noticed something in the sky. A low black cloud hung over the town. In the blackness, Sinklier saw a white shape. Thinking it was frost or a reflection from the snow that had been falling, Sinklier reached into his store and grabbed his camera and took a picture of the figure.

The figure had a human shape, seemed to be wearing a robe-like tunic, had plumes coming out of the top of it and seemed as if it were holding something, like a candle. The image disappeared within a couple of minutes and the dark clouds dissipated within ten. Sinklier stated, upon discussing the picture, that a woman had died the day before and was lying in state at the church before the ceremony later that day. Sinklier obtained a copyright for the picture and gave a notarized statement that the origins of the picture were indeed factual and began selling booklets and postcards of the Angel Over Greensburg all over Kansas.


Many people didn't believe the story and felt that the "angel" was photographic manipulation. They claimed Sinklier "doped" the negative in order to enhance the angel part of the picture or that the angel was just a mirage.

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

You're Ugly When You Drink

Eleanor Blanchard missed the keyhole to her door three times before she was able to get it in. She opened the door and then couldn’t get the key out of the hole. “Come on,” she whined. “Quit it. Give me back my key,” she said. The key slid out and she looked into her apartment. Her lights were on and her friends were sitting on her furniture, clearly waiting on her. “What’s going on? Were we supposed to have a party tonight or something?”

“Eleanor, we need to talk to you,” Sadie said. Sadie Brown was Eleanor’s oldest friend. They had known each other since the third grade and had been together through everything. “We’re worried about you.”

“Uh-oh. Is this an intervention?” Eleanor asked.

“We just want to talk,” Jason said. “We’re worried about you because of your drinking.”

“My drinking? My drinking is fine. It’s fine,” Eleanor said before hiccupping and nearly throwing up.

“We just want to talk to you. Please, Eleanor, have a seat,” Sadie pointed to a chair.

“’Have a seat’, I’m not a child predator,” Eleanor stumbled into the chair. “All right. Let’s make this quick. I’m gonna have to poop soon.”

“I’ll go first since we’ve known each other the longest,” Sadie said. “Eleanor, you’ve always been my best friend and you’ve been very loyal. You’ve stood up to exes and other people who attack me, I’ve always been able to come to you and you’ve always been able to come to me. But you sometimes let your drinking cloud your judgement. Remember after our sophomore year in college we went to Las Vegas for two weeks?”

“That was an amazing trip. We won nearly $10,000,” Eleanor said. “And those strip clubs. Mmm.”

“You got drunk and met this guy,” Sadie continued.

“Yeah, I did.”

Sadie sighed. “You two got hot and heavy and then went back to our room. It was one thing that you and he had sex while I was trying to sleep in the bed next to you but he stole one of our room keys and robbed us.”

“He just robbed us. He got our phones, a laptop, and about a hundred bucks,” Eleanor explained.

“He could’ve killed us in our sleep, Eleanor.”

“But he didn’t and we have a good story to tell.”

“Maybe we should be doing this when she’s sober,” Matthew said.

“Eleanor,” Elisa stepped forward. Elisa Figueroa had known Eleanor since they lived in the dorm their freshman year. They moved in together their sophomore and part of their junior year before Elisa moved out. “We became good friends in college. We had a lot of fun in the dorms and here in this apartment but do you want to know why I moved out?”

“Why?” Eleanor asked, she didn’t really care. Jennifer, who was also in the intervention, was her roommate now.

“You slept with all my boyfriends. Every single one of them. I even warned the last two about you. I told them ‘she will try to fuck you, she will get drunk and try to fuck you’ and it still happened,” Elisa said.

“I think that says more about your boyfriends than it does me,” Eleanor said.

“I asked you not to sleep with them. I sat you down and practically begged you to stay away from my boyfriends. You even slept with one of them after I already had. He got up to go to the bathroom and I happened to wake up. I went looking for him and saw him and Eleanor on the couch, her bouncing up and down on his dick.”

“I…” Eleanor tried to come up with some way to defend herself. “Well, it was a strange man in our apartment. I just followed my instincts.”

“How many of my boyfriends have you slept with?” Jennifer asked Eleanor. Eleanor just looked at her and said nothing. “How many?” Jennifer had maybe brought home a dozen boyfriends in the five years they’ve been roommates.

“Remember that party your sophomore year?” Matthew asked. Matthew had known Eleanor since college as well, meeting in the dorm her freshman year. “You got black-out drunk and invited several guys into a bedroom. You had a gangbang with at least six other guys. You passed out halfway through it but they kept going. I went looking for you and found you, covered in cum, and asleep on the bed. I picked you up, carried you into the bathroom and I bathed you. I scrubbed all the cum off you and brought you back to bed. I locked the door and stayed with you to protect you.”

“Matthew, I told you never to mention that to anyone,” Eleanor was clearly upset as she was starting to tear up. “You promised you’d never tell anyone.”

“Drinking puts you in a bad place where you make bad decisions. You put yourself and other people in danger,” Matthew said.

“Why don’t you finish your story, Matthew?” Eleanor gritted her teeth.

“What?”

“Finish the story. Tell everyone that after you cleaned me up and brought me back to bed, I woke up. You were laying next to me and started rubbing and kissing you. Did you not kiss me back? Did you not climb on top of me? And did you not also have sex with me?” Matthew was silent. He saw everybody else looking at him. He crossed his arms and turned away from Eleanor. She wiped a tear away and cleared her throat. “None of you are better than me. None of you. At least I can admit that I’m not perfect.”

“We don’t think we’re better than you. Like Matthew said, we don’t want you to make decisions that could put yourself or the people you love in danger. Or do something really embarrass,” Jennifer began. “I think it was the third or fourth time we had got out together. We were really drunk and were heading back to your place. You suddenly really had to go to the bathroom…”

“Oh, that’s reminds me,” Eleanor held up a finger and spun it in a circle. “Let’s wrap this up.”

“You had to go to the bathroom and instead of waiting until we got home, you pulled down your underwear and squatted down on the sidewalk. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem but you didn’t just pee. You took a shit on the sidewalk. People walked by, people saw and heard you. I don’t know if this will change you but I did lose some respect for you,” Jennifer revealed. “I’ve now also lot respect for you because you been sleeping with my boyfriends.”

“Again, I think that says more about your boyfriends than me.”

“Your drinking also hurts people,” Jason said. Jason and Eleanor had known each other since high school. Jason was just about as close to Eleanor as Sadie had been. Jason was the one to hang out with Eleanor when she would go partying. She had several close friends who were older and were able to get alcohol. “We went to a birthday party in our freshman year for, what was her name, Melissa? Missy? That kind of nerdy girl we knew from high school.”

“Misty,” Eleanor said.

“Yeah. Misty. When we got to the party, Misty had her hair done differently and Eleanor made fun of it. It was cut differently and looked kind of childish but you don’t say anything about it out loud,” Jason said. “When Misty started opening presents, Eleanor began making fun of the presents calling them childish or saying how much she hated each one. Eleanor only had a couple drinks before we went. She wasn’t even that drunk,” Jason explained.

“Maybe this really isn’t about my drinking. Maybe I’m just a bitch. A bitch who likes booze and sex,” Eleanor said. “This story time was great and all but I got to see a man about a turtle…” Eleanor began to stand up.

“You raped me,” Jason suddenly said. Eleanor froze then dropped back down to the chair. “That party we went to our senior year of high school. At that house Nathan and Joey moved into. We were all starting to pass out and you went to bed with Joey. I stayed up a little longer to talk with Sadie. Remember this, Sadie?”

Sadie nodded.

“We all heard you fuck Joey then you came out and went to the bathroom then went back to the bedroom. Sadie and I went back to sleep along with one or two other people on the floor of the main room. I had to get several times to pee and vomit. Finally, I just stayed in the bathroom. It was a pretty big bathroom so other people could walk around me. I passed out on the bathroom floor and you came in to go pee. You peed and you kept talking to me. I don’t remember if I was answering back but you kept talking to me. After you flushed, I felt you on me. You were sitting on my thighs and undoing my pants. I asked you—I do remember this—what you were doing. You shushed me and began jacking me off. I kept telling you to stop but you kept going. You then got more on top me. I was inside you. I told you to stop again and you kept going, grinding on me while I laid nearly unconscious on the floor of a bathroom. You kept going until I came and then you just left me there. You raped me and then left me nearly unconscious on the floor of a bathroom,” Jason was shaking, nearly crying. “I don’t know. Since you don’t seem to care about taking a dump in public on the sidewalk, or abusing a young woman on her birthday, or making guys cheat on their girlfriends, or getting violently gangbanged, or setting up your friends to be murdered then you probably won’t care about this.”

Everyone was silent for nearly a minute. Finally, Jennifer got up. “I will, uh, be in my room,” she said and turned to leave.

Everyone else stood up and silently began to leave. Jason continued to sit on the couch, looking at Eleanor. Neither one moved for another minute. Jason slapped his knees and stood. Silently, he walked past Eleanor and left the apartment. Eleanor continued sitting silently.  ▩

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Felix the Cat: The Movie

Felix the Cat: The Movie was released in 1988. It was an American-German-Polish-Hungarian produced animated movie that didn't see an American release until 1991 and then it was just direct-to-video. There have been no official DVD releases of this movie in North America.

Felix the Cat was created in 1919 by Pat Sullivan and/or Otto Messmer for Pat Sullivan Productions. Felix became the most popular animated star of the silent movie era. The animated shorts, combining adult humor with childlike fantasy was a hit with moviegoers. The last Felix short came out in 1930 after a disastrous attempt at adding sound to the shorts. Sullivan died in 1933. Messmer would continue the Felix the Cat comic strips and would illustrate the comic books. He would die in 1983. A short-lived attempt to revive Felix occurred in 1936 but only produced three shorts.

Joe Oriolo, an assistant of Messmer's on the comic strip, purchased the rights to Felix and, through Paramount, produced 260 Felix cartoons to distribute to television networks. The series debuted in 1958 and gave Felix much of his appearance and personality--the magic bag of tricks, a rotation of villains, and catchy theme song. After Oriolo's death in 1985, his son Don continued marketing Felix producing a new comic book series from Harvey Comics, a Nintendo video game, a series of bumpers for CBS Saturday morning cartoons, a new 13-episode series, and this movie.

Felix the Cat: The Movie was written by Pete Brown and directed by Tibor Hernadi who would go on to direct 86 Red Bull commercials between 1992 and his death in 2012. Currently, Felix the Cat is owned by NBCUniversal.

GAAH! Satan! Burn it with fire!
We are introduced to Felix through a floating disembodied head. This part, done by CGI in one of the first uses of motion-capture animation, stands out starkly as the rest of the movie is done with traditional hand-drawn animation. Felix tells us about Oriana and it being in another dimension and is very excited to tell you this tale. Perhaps, a little too excited.

We are introduced to Princess Oriana who rules the Kingdom of Oriana (o...k) and she is a kind and peaceful ruler. She wants to give back money to her people much to the dismay of her adviser Grumper and has disbanded the army believing the people will defend the kingdom if anything happens. As fate would have it, something is happening. The Duke of Zill begins invading the kingdom. Oriana tries to flee and find the dimensporter to summon a hero from another dimension. They activate the dimensporter but Zill and his robotic cylinders find Oriana and take her captive. A single tear with her cries for help are sent through the dimensporters and happen upon Felix the Cat. Despite saying he won't hurt it, Felix continuously swats at the tear as it cries "Help me." This chase scene between Felix and the tear goes on for nearly five minutes and then we get a short song called "Sly As a Fox" which are about foxes that has nothing to do with the story. The tear leads Felix into an abandoned mine where there happens to be a dimensporter which transports Felix to Oriana to rescue Oriana.
"Help me, Felix Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
After a couple mishaps with his magic bag, flooding the dimensporter chamber, and dancing sea creatures, Felix lands in the Land of Zill and meets Pim who offers to take Felix...somewhere but really just wants his magic bag despite not knowing that it's a magic bag. Meanwhile, back in our dimension, The Professor and Poindexter are tracking down Felix and find the mine. They then follow Felix to Oriana.
Felix and Pim. No, I don't know why Pim looks like an 1840s prospector.
As Felix and Pim arrive at Progress City, Felix is double-crossed and is taken captive by Wack Lizardi, who manages a circus in the city. Felix is thrown in jail and his magic bag is taken to Lizardi. The bag won't work with Felix so Lizardi says if Felix wants to eat (and see his bag again) he has to perform in Lizardi's circus. Felix initially refuses to he's locked back up where he meets some mizzard (mice-lizard hybrids). While locked up, Lizardi begins his show with a tribute to Zill.
"We are contented because he says we are."

I honestly don't hate this character design.
Like all villain songs, it's vastly superior to every other song in this movie. The first act in the circus are the mizzards tap dancing which the audience doesn't like--both the circus audience and the movie audience. The tap-dancing goes on for nearly four minutes. Felix is the next act and his act is that he talks and has a magic bag. Felix rips some jokes before performing with his magic bag. The crowd goes wild and Felix becomes a permanent feature at the circus.

Turns out Oriana (the princess not the kingdom) is now a dancer in Wack's circus and every night Zill watches Oriana dance like some sort of pervert. Oh, I forgot to tell you, the Duke of Zill is Oriana's uncle. Felix attempts to talk to Oriana after her performance but she doesn't listen and walks away.
The mizzards talk!
Felix befriends the mizzards who create a hole big enough for him to go through so he can visit Oriana (the princess not the kingdom). There are so many pointless scenes in this movie. Oriana isn't so sure about Felix being the dark hero but she tells him the story of her family and Oriana. The Duke was a great inventor and brilliant scientist who was disfigured during a lab explosion. Outfitting himself with a mechanical shell, the Duke became Doctor Doom The Duke of Zill after he was banished from Oriana for liking war too much. He gained the strange creatures of Zill as followers and built an army of cylinders and cubes as his military. Why are the Professor and Poindexter even in this movie?

Felix asks to perform with Oriana when she dances so Felix joins the band, playing saxophone with his magic bag. Emitting magic bubbles, Felix is able to float him, the band, Pim, and Oriana out of the circus and to freedom. Zill, watching this, freaks out, falling down the stairs, and injuring his back. They make the Duke of Zill out to be this smart, strong, and sinister villain but all that is brushed away with one pointless scene trying to be funny. It's just another of a bunch of disappointments in this movie.

Free! We're free! Wait. We still have half the movie to go.
Felix, Oriana, and Pim begin to make their way to Oriana with cylinders and cubes hot on their trail. Felix then realizes that he has left his magic bag behind despite it being in the screenshot posted above. Luckily, Professor and Poindexter catch up to Felix and they just so happen to have Felix's magic bag. Felix and the gang arrive at some hair forest in the shape of a face for some reason, it's not explained, and have to cut their way through the hair. Some more filler happens and Pim finds a boat to take them the rest of the way to Oriana.
"Hmm. The castle is around here somewhere..."
Princess Oriana is voiced by Maureen O'Connell, you probably haven't heard of her and despite a career spanning five decades, she has no credits of note. She kind of sounds like Didi Hill, Hank's stepmother on King of the Hill. It's very strange.
Felix tries to lasso Zill but his magic bag is confiscated and everyone is taken prisoner. Zill says he won't harm them if Oriana gives him the Book of Ultimate Power. She refuses so Zill sics his cylinders on her friends. She makes the book appear but Zill discovers it is useless to him. Zill has no use for Truth, Love, and Wisdom.
Still better than Cheryl Strayed's Wild.
The Duke of Zill unleashes the Master Cylinder on our heroes, an evil-er update of the Master Cylinder from the 1950s cartoon and the thing that controls the cylinder and cube army. There's no way that our heroes can overcome this.
Here are the blueprints if you want to make your own Master Cylinder..
Felix picks up the Book of Ultimate Power and throws it at the Master Cylinder. The Cylinder malfunctions and shuts down destroying the entire army and melting the Duke of Zill who promises that he will be back. So to recap: We've spent one hour and ten minutes getting to a villain that takes less than thirty seconds to defeat. Felix just threw a book. That was all it took. Oriana goes back to normal, everything is hunky-dory.
Yay.
Poindexter gives us an infodump that the purity of the gold binding on the book interfered with the circuitry of the Master Cylinder or some garbage thus explaining why everything blew up. Oriana decides to shut down the dimensporter so Felix will never be able to come back. Felix, the Professor, and Poindexter are sent back to their dimension. But not before Oriana says Felix has a heart of gold and he agrees with a "Righty-O!"
Oh, thank God it's over. Unfortunately that disembodied Felix
head is back.
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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Nzinga

Uzochi went fast, not wanting to be caught if Nzinga’s mother or her brother and sister walked in. Her mother was in the fields with the other women of the village and her brother and sister were just outside playing with their friends.

“Slow down,” she said as she placed a hand gently on Uzochi’s chest.

He slowed down but kept up the pace. “I don’t want us to get caught.”

“I don’t either but I also want to enjoy it. I want us to enjoy it. Now,” she grabbed his face and looked him in the eyes “slow down.” He slowed down more and Nzinga used her hips to help guide him.

When they were finished and had their clothes back on, Uzochi asked “Why’d you want to do that?”

“I didn’t want to go to America a virgin,” Nzinga replied.

“Why me?”

“We’ve been friends our whole lives—almost like we were married. It made sense,” she smiled. “People probably think we do it anyway.”

He smiled back. “Really?”

She laughed.

“Can we do it again before you leave?” he asked.

“I leave in two days. I don’t know how we’d squeeze it in.” She noticed his expression change, his smile faded and he turned away. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and you got me pregnant,” she stuck out and rubbed her belly, laughing.

He turned back to her. “Do not put that on me. You have a future and I,” he walked over to Nzinga and put his arms around her “would not want to be responsible for ruining that future.”

“I don’t think it would be ruining my future but okay,” Nzinga said, slightly laughing.

“What are you two doing?” Nzinga’s mother walking into the house. “You are supposed to be out watching your brother and sister.”

Nzinga had sent them out to play and bribed them not to come back into the house. She was supposed to be watching them but wanted this time with Uzochi. She hung her head, blushed, and looked at Uzochi. “Sorry. I know. I just wanted some time to say good-bye to Uzochi,” she said.

“You’ll have plenty of time for good-byes at your going-away party,” her mother commented. “Now get out there and watch your siblings.”

Nzinga and Uzochi walked out of the house and they stood in the yard and watched Nzinga’s brother and sister play with the neighbor children. “You’re going to do great in America,” he said.

“Thanks,” she sighed.

“If you can keep your mind off the boys,” he chuckled.

“I don’t think there will be any problem there,” she laughed loud at the idea.




Adrian pulled out and came on Nzinga's stomach. Her leg was still twitching from her orgasm but she was too focused on the odd feeling of warm cum turning to cold on her belly. Adrian was the sixth guy she'd been with. Her first African-American guy. Her first two had been Nigerians, one that she had dated. They were like Uzochi, quick and just pounding away at her. Next were three white guys. One of them she had dated. They were better, more caring and attentive, but they were not dating material and she soon ended it with both of them after a few weeks. Adrian was a nice guy but Nzinga didn't feel any sparks with him either. Nzinga thought Adrian was done but he was then licking up what he left on her stomach and soon his head was back between her legs, giving her another orgasm within minutes and then he was back inside her for round two.

Nzinga was a decent student and she could've been better but between her private life and her job, her schoolwork was the responsibility that took the most neglect. She worked at a cheap clothing store, where people would come in and sell their old clothes for either store credit or cash. She had become good friends with her coworkers there, Alicia Alonzo and Dustin Marr. Dustin was very funny and charming and Nzinga found herself falling for him. Alicia was a beautiful mixed-race girl who had been friends with Dustin for several years. There was something about Alicia that intrigued Nzinga but she wasn't sure what that was.

"You're late. Busy getting railed?" Alicia asked when Nzinga came into the store.

"Yeah," Nzinga blushed. "Has it been busy?”

“Of course not. Dustin is doing inventory in the back. Looking at and pricing new clothes.”

“I’m gonna go say hi,” Nzinga seemingly started bouncing to the swinging doors that led to the storage room.

“You should ask him out,” Alicia suddenly said.

“What?”

“Ask Dustin out,” Alicia smiled. “You both like each other and I would like seeing you together. You’d make a cute couple. Trust me.”

Nzinga scoffed and went to the back room where Dustin was going through boxes of clothes and sorting them out. “Hey, Dustin, need any help?”

“No, thanks. I’m good. It shouldn’t take me long to get through this.”

“Anything good?” Nzinga walked over and picked up a couple of blouses that had floral prints on them. She gave them a good look and seemed interested.

“A little. These are my favorite,” he held up a t-shirt with a black and white dog on it with words surrounding him. “Big Dog shirts!” he exclaimed.

“I’ve seen kids in neighboring villages wearing shirts with that dog on it,” Nzinga picked up on of the shirts and looked at it.

“Really?” Dustin asked. “I’m so sorry. My mom would get me shirts like this because she liked the dog. I hated them. They were always the first things I’d get rid of when cleaning out my closet.”

“How much we going to resell them for?” Nzinga asked.

Dustin tossed them all in the trash can. “We’re not. I’m gonna save someone from the nightmare life that I had to live.”

Nzinga chuckled. “You’re a hero,” she turned to leave the back room. “Hey, Dustin, are you doing anything tonight?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Would you like to go out, have dinner?” she asked.

“Yeah. That’d be great.”




“Last box,” Dustin said as he came into Nzinga’s bedroom and dropped a box on the floor. Nzinga had moved in with Alicia and Dustin was helping her move in while Alicia was at work. Nzinga paused putting stuff on a bulletin board to go over to Dustin and hug and kiss him. They had just celebrated their three-month anniversary which made this her longest relationship.

“My big, strong man,” she smiled after kissing him.

“Is he here, too?” Dustin looked around the room and down the hallway.

Nzinga chuckled. “You want to hang out tonight? Alicia has work and she said that she’s going out clubbing which means she will probably not be coming home.”

“Sure. We can order in some food, put on a movie or binge a TV show, and then break in your new room,” he said.

“Thai. I want Thai food,” Nzinga said.

Dustin sighed heavily. “Ok. We will order some Thai food.”

After midnight, they were still up, watching a TV show. The Thai food was gone and they had gotten into what little alcohol Alicia had in the apartment. Except for the hallway light and the glow of the TV, it was completely dark in the apartment. They were snuggled up together on the couch when Alicia came in, the door banging against the wall and her keys landing hard on a table.

“Alicia,” Nzinga sat up. “I didn’t think you’d be back tonight.”

“It was a slow night,” she breathed. “It was fun but the girls were just…not tonight. What are you two kids doing?” she sat down next to Nzinga, reaching out and brushing hair out of Nzinga’s face.

“Just watching TV. Are you drunk?”

“A little. Like I said, it was fun but there was only one girl on my mind tonight,” Alicia moved in closer. “I see you two aren’t sober either,” she pointed out the empty and nearly empty bottles on the coffee table.

“We may have had a little,” Nzinga said softly. Alicia was practically on top of her.

“Can I kiss you?” Alicia asked Nzinga.

“What?” both Nzinga and Dustin asked, in shock.

“Can I kiss you? If that’s okay with you and Dustin,” Alicia bit her lip and looked back and forth between Nzinga and Dustin.

Nzinga looked at Dustin. Reading into each other’s eyes, Nzinga smiled and leaned over and kissed Alicia. Their mouths opened and they pressed harder together. Alicia took Nzinga into her arms and they continued making out. Nzinga reached over and grabbed Dustin’s shirt, pulling him to them. Nzinga began kissing Dustin while Alicia went to Nzinga’s neck.

The next morning, Nzinga woke up alone in Alicia’s bed. She sat up and looked around. There was a note on the pillow from Dustin. Had to go to work. I’ll see you this afternoon. Love you lots. Dustin. She held her head in her hands and thought about last night. The three of them started on the couch then moved into Alicia’s bedroom. She could still feel Alicia touching and kissing her. She recalled her head between Alicia’s legs while Dustin made love to her from behind and then Alicia riding Dustin while she and Alicia kissed and he ate her out.

“Hey, you’re awake,” Alicia came into the room. Nzinga flinched and held the blanket close to her tightly. “Are you okay?” Alicia extended a hand and gave Nzinga a worried look.

“I think so. I…What happened last night?”

Alicia slowly went over to the bed and sat down. “We…You, me and Dustin, had a threesome. We—you and I—started making out, you pulled Dustin into it, and then we came back here.”

Nzinga was breathing heavily.

“Are you okay?” she asked again.

“I think so. I’m just confused. I mean, Dustin I get. He likes women. You like women. I’ve only been with men and…what am I?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to confuse you. Look, Nzinga, I really like you. I didn’t exactly plan for this to happen but I really enjoyed it and I know that you enjoyed it, too. But if you feel uncomfortable or taken advantage of or anything, then I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” Alicia tried to explain.

“You like me?”

“Since I met you,” Alicia smiled. “I would’ve asked you out but I didn’t think you’d go for it. I mean, you really like your men.”

“I do. But I liked this, too,” Nzinga took Alicia’s hand. “I’m still confused though. Am I…like you? I still like guys. I still like Dustin.”

“You can like both.”

“What about us? What are we?” Nzinga asked.

“We can be friends. Roommates. When the time is right, we can become more,” Alicia leaned in and kissed Nzinga. Alicia pulled away but Nzinga grabbed the back of her head and kept her close. They continued making out and soon were back in bed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

1st & Humphrey


Along the northern banks of the Kansas River in Shawnee County, across from the area of Valencia and Auburn Road, is a dead end road. A cluster of buildings surround this dead end road and the county appraisers office list the property as farming and ranch. Initially part of the Pottawatomie Reservation, the first settlement on this land was Joseph and Louis Ogee who began operating a ferry on the site in 1853.

Louis Ogee was one of the earliest settlers of Shawnee County and Silver Lake. He helped write and approve the Pottawatomie Treaty and was very generous toward the Baptist church. He was an affectionate parent and husband and a good friend to the poor. Ogee died in 1880 of a cancerous tumor that he had on his neck. He is buried in Silver Lake Cemetery.

Nearby, on the other side of section, Sidney W. Smith started a ferry about 1852. Smith arrived in Uniontown, a small trading town a couple miles southeast of present-day Willard, in 1848. It was the first rope ferry across the Kansas River above Wyandotte. Smith ran this ferry for about eight years before it was abandoned. A road from the ferry led to the Pottawatomie Mission. According to newspaper reports, Smith's Ferry was the most used ferry by travelers heading to Santa Fe and California.
Notice for Smith's Ferry, Kansas Tribune, Dec. 13, 1858.
The land continued to be part of the Pottawatomie Reservation until 1859. The first landowner was a man named Raglin and Polk and Lasley in 1873 although it probably had owners before then. By the turn of the century, the land was divided more, having five owners splitting approximately 100 acres.
F(?) Stoher
? Ward
J(?) Ivers(?)
P(?) Stoher
Albert Henry Shafer (1846-1898)

In the 1913 plat book of Shawnee County, this section of land had new owners. John H. Ginter (1862-1936, buried in Dover Cemetery), Morrison Hewey, J.E. Kinnard, Clinton O. Shafer (1881-1950, buried in Prairie Home Cemetery), C.L. Mohler (1884-1977, buried in Prairie Home Cemetery), and Eri Hansford. In the 1880s, sorghum became a popular crop. In 1888, the Topeka Sugar Mill opened on the south bank of the Kansas River. Hansford built a pontoon bridge across the river for him and his fellow farmers to use to get to the mill. The bridge was destroyed the following year and Hansford installed three cable ferry boats. A year after it opened, the Topeka Sugar Mill burned down but was operating again in 1890. The endeavor was still shortlived as a succession of bad crops and economic depression closed the mill in 1893. In 1902, Hansford untied the cables from his ferry and the boats were lost in the 1903 flood.

Hansford continued farming sorghum, using his own mill, until 1917 when it was destroyed by a tornado. He attempted to reopen it years later but it failed, again, soon after. In 1920, Hansford began Riverside Camp, a summer resort with 50 cabins and a large dancing pavilion. Sadly, it was nearly destroyed in the 1935 flood and while some cabins were rebuilt, it was never as successful. In 1946, the pavilion was struck by lightening and burned down.
Cabins at Riverside Camp, 1925-1929. From Kansas State Historical Society.
In August 1905, Hansford's son, Allen, was accused of statutory rape by Minnie Worrell, who was 17-years-old to Allen's 25. Worrell was living and working at the Hansford's as a domestic. Hansford, being a wealthy man, fought tooth and nail for his son. Allen was sentenced to five to 21 years in the penitentiary, which was upheld by the state supreme court. Worrell then brought a $15,000 suit against Hansford and a doctor but she was only awarded $500. Allen Hansford was pardoned by Governor Walter Stubbs after only serving about eight months of his sentence. Allen died January 12, 1920 of neuritis, leaving a wife and child. Eri Hansford died in 1941 at the age of 92.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bart Gets Hit By a Car


Wait. Hold on. What's the title of this episode again?
Oh! Thank you, random title screen.

Credits
Episode 7F10 (#23)
Created by Matt Groening; Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Written by John Swarzwelder
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Executive Producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer
Guest Starring Hank Azaria, Doris Grau
Special Guest Star Phil Hartman

Story
Bart is skateboarding through the streets and sidewalks of Springfield when he approaches an intersection and is promptly hit by a car. Whether a dream or reality, Bart is sent up the golden escalator to Heaven.

Despite a Heavenly Voice telling Bart not to spit over the side, Bart does it anyway and is immediately sent to Hell. Due to a clerical error, Bart isn't scheduled to die until the Yankees win the pennant and is sent back into the living. He awakes in the hospital surrounded by his family and lawyer, Lionel Hutz. Hutz gives Homer his business card (which is also a sponge if you get it wet!) and leaves. The next day at work, Mr. Burns offers Homer $100 to sign away any legal right to sue Mr. Burns for hitting his child. Homer casually mentions that $100 won't cover Bart's medical bills which sends Burns into a rage screaming about extortion. Homer then decides to call Lionel Hutz.
"You can ching-ching-ching cash in on this tragedy!"
Hutz promises to get Homer a million dollars (50% of which Hutz will take) from Mr. Burns who so carelessly targeted and ran down the little boy. Hutz brings in Dr. Nick Riviera to look Bart over again and come to the conclusion that instead of a bump on the head and a broken toe, Bart now has whiplash head and facial trauma. He wraps Bart in bandages, gives him a wheelchair, and the trial is a go.

The first day doesn't go very well for Mr. Burns. Bart's testimony of an evil Mr. Burns targeting and running down Bart while he's trapped against a wrought iron fence doesn't sit well with the jury. Mr. Burns' testimony of his sanctimonious excursion to deliver toys to an orphanage brought to a premature end as Bart kept skating right toward Mr. Burns no matter which direction Burns steered just cemented the jurors' hatred for this 104-year-old man. Burns and his lawyers decide to offer the Simpsons a settlement of $500,000 which Homer turns down because Homer knows that Burns knows that he's going to lose the case. Marge tries to get Homer to take the money and mentions shifty lawyers and phony doctors. Unbeknownst to them, Burns and Smithers have been listening to them and now have a plan of action. They cancel the offer and release the hounds.

The next day, the Blue-Haired Lawyer calls Marge to the stand. When questioned, Marge tells the truth and nothing but the truth. Now out $1,000,000 dollars, and whatever the Lionel Hutz's fee was because, as we'll learn in later episodes he does not work on contingency (Money down!), Homer is looking at his wife a bit differently. After dinner, Homer goes to Moe's and is followed by Marge. Homer reveals that he's not upset about the money but that his wife didn't stand by him. Marge wants him to look her in the eyes and say that he doesn't love her anymore. Homer does and realizes that he can't do it. He loves Marge more than ever and everyone in Moe's celebrates with 1/3 off pitchers of domestic beer.

Random Observations
  • Bart, looking down at his body: "Hey, cool. I'm dead."
  • This is the first episode where Mr. Burns is genuinely evil and not just a curmudgeon. He would continue to be evil for the rest of the series although some would argue he went from being evil to cartoonish supervillain.
  • This is the first episode to guest star Phil Hartman. At the time, Hartman was on Saturday Night Live. In this episode, Hartman voices Lionel Hutz and the Heavenly Voice. Hartman would become one of the most-used guest voices. Sadly, Hartman died in 1998 in a tragic murder-suicide.
  • This episode also debuts the voice of Doris Grau. Grau, the script supervisor for the series, would go on to voice Lunchlady Doris. Grau would go on to voice Doris on The Critic. Grau would pass away in 1995 of respiratory failure.
  • "I'm the Devil!" is a great read by Harry Shearer.
  • The Devil tells Bart that he's not due to die until the Yankees win the pennant. The Yankees would win in 1996 and win again six more times over the next 24 years.
  • Homer to Lionel Hutz: "Yeah, who are you? I saw you chasing Bart's ambulance."
  • Lisa: "Mr. Hutz, are you a shyster?"
    Hutz: "How does a nice little girl like you know a big word like that?"
  • Dr. Hibbert touches Bart's bump and broken toe causing Bart to say "Ow, quit it" just like in the Christmas special.
  • Mr. Burns offers Homer $100 so he doesn't sue. Burns explodes when Homer mentions the medical bills. Homer has a point and it's a shame he was led to use shifty lawyers and fake doctors when he truly had a case against Mr. Burns. But then, I guess, we wouldn't have an episode.
  • Lionel Hutz makes his secretary give him fake phone messages to impress clients. "The Supreme Court called..."
  • Dr. Nick: "And this smudge here, that looks like my fingerprint, it's trauma!"

  • Mr. Burns thinks about the newspaper headlines if he fired Homer after running over Bart:
    "Burns fires ungrateful employee"
    "Another smart move by Burns"
    "Hooray for Burns!"


  • Hutz: "Now let's pretend you're on the witness stand. How are you, Bart?"
    Bart: "Fine."
    Hutz: "Oh, fine. Isn't that nice? Bart says he's fine. WRONG! YOU ARE NOT FINE! YOU ARE IN CONSTANT PAIN!"
    Bart: "I am in constant pain."
  • Mr Burns, in court after his lawyer mentions how rich and powerful he is: "I should be able to run over as many kids as I want!"
  • Judge Snyder: "You wouldn't lie to the United States, would you, Bart?"

  • No. NO!

  • "Take me! I'm old!"
  • Homer and Marge definitely should've taken the $500,000.
  • Marge tells the truth. It does not go well for Homer and Lionel Hutz.
  • While the writer's have Homer say it's not about the money, Homer is upset that his wife blew his one chance. While this is a decent argument (my wife should stand by me) it still goes back to losing out on the money.
  • I believe this is the first episode that really stuck out to me. Maybe because it's Bart-heavy and I was eight-years-old at the time this aired but this episode always stuck out to me as one of the best shows of the first couple of seasons. It has that Simpsons humor but also Simpson heart in equal doses.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Captain Kid Gets the Old Run Around

It's been awhile. Let's take a look at the next Captain Kid story. This story is about Captain Kid running a race but instead of training and being the best runner, Captain Kid decides to cheat.  Role model! So, as the cover says, relax and be happy.

Nope. I'm done. I didn't know we were going to start out with...this...whatever it is. I'm sorry about this, everybody.

Captain Kid's thing is that he's always bragging about how strong and athletic he is. He gets this way by cheating. He's that guy in high school you hated. Yes, that guy. That jerk.

Pudgy's not that Pudgy, really.

Why does Captain Kid's hair do that?

Oh no! Captain Kid is gonna get bamboozled!

No one is going to comment that Captain Kid is running into the woods instead on staying on the race route? Once he went into the woods he should've been disqualified.


Is it though? Is it?

Hmm, it seems as if cheating is just as hard...or harder...than just doing what you are supposed to do.

Here's hoping that's a downhill slope directly into Hell.

Hey, I was right.

So it's clear that Pudgy is trying to kill Captain Kid, right? That's clear now.

Even if this was a shortcut, I don't think Captain Kid is going to win this thing anymore.

I'm taking bets on how long Captain Kid's body will remain lost in the woods before a hiker spots it. I'm going twelve years.

Look who's finally caught up. Not with the others racers but with the overall story. You know what? Never mind.

I don't know either but that snake seems to be doing a good job keeping up. It also looks really harmless.

So he's running back to where he entered the woods? There is no way he's gonna cheat his way to success now!

I just noticed that Captain Kid's number for the race is 0. As it should be.

Why does everyone seems to care about Captain Kid so much? Wait. Is he one of those...special...kids? Are we making fun of someone who shouldn't be made fun of?

Captain Kid is a phony.


No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no...

NO!

It seems as if no one is excited that Captain Kid won. "Here's your medal. Hope you choke on it."

Well, the story is over and for some reason I feel emptier...dirtier, maybe. Either way, I look forward to the next issue of Pudgy trying to vanquish his old foe, Captain Kid.

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