Archive for December, 2009


The hypocritical selective memories of some people are astounding. I am of course talking about the Herald Sun readers, who are obviously Liberal voters, who have taken the time to write into the H/S to attack the state Labor government over the bungled Myki public transport ticketing system that has just been introduced. Now I don’t want to defend transport minister Lynne Kosky, as she has done a horrible job of this, but the reality is that it has been a very long time since we have had a competent transport minister.

Most of the H/S readers have wrongly stated that it is Labor governments that continually stuff up public transport. The truth of the matter is that both Labor and Liberal governments have had appalling records at running the public transport system. Whilst the current Labor government is responsible for Myki and allowing the transport system to become run down, we should remember that the previous Kennett Liberal government was responsible for introducing the current automated ticketing system back in 1996/97, and that it wasn’t until some years after the Bracks’ Labor government took over that this system became somewhat reliable. It was also Mr Kennett who sold off the public transport system to private operators like Connex and Yarra Trams, although it’s the successive Bracks and Brumby Labor governments have not really held the private operators accountable. (Still, Connex had an appalling record when they were running transport in Europe, which everyone knew before Kennett awarded them the contract to run Melbourne’s trains.)

The problem is that, as I have stated previously, I don’t understand why no-one has decided to bring back tram conductors and ticket sellers on trams and trains. They are more reliable than the machines that have replaced them and can do much more than them too.


It’s not often that you get to see George Pal’s Puppetoons on Youtube. Usually if they do get loaded on Youtube they will last about a week or two before Arnold Leibovit Entertainment gets the video pulled due to copyright infringement. Personally I wish that Arnold Leibovit Entertainment would just release all of the Puppetoons onto DVD so I wouldn’t have to search Youtube for cartoons that I had not previously seen. Sure, we do have the Puppetoon Movie DVD, which is something that I will always cherish, but there are so many Puppetoons that were not on that DVD that I really want to see.

Here is one of the most famous Puppetoons, Tubby The Tuba, that does feature on the Puppetoon Movie, which I really implore everyone who enjoys these cartoons to buy. (I think that will be the only way in which we will ever get more Puppetoons onto DVD!) Anyway, enjoy this cartoon while you can, as I doubt that it will still be here next month.

As a bonus here is the trailer to The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm, a live action film from 1962 which had special effects and was produced by George Pal.



This movie is not available on DVD. Perhaps Arnold Leibovit Entertainment could release this onto DVD as well as the rest of the Puppetoons.

1938 Auto Union Wanderer Streamlined

Posted: December 27, 2009 in Audi

I don’t know much about this car, except that it was an Auto Union sports racing car raced under the Wanderer name. Auto Union were most successful with their 16 cylinder C-Type Grand Prix racers, as well as the later D-Type, so these cars tend to be overlooked in comparison.

Three cars were built to compete in the 1938 and 1939 Liège-Rome-Liège long distance race. In 1939 they won the teams prize and all cars reached the finish line.

The three cars were rebuilt by Audi in 2003. They again exemplify 1930s streamlining and the art-deco astehtics of that decade.

Art Deco

Posted: December 27, 2009 in Art

I should have been around in the 1930s. I think that my artistic sensibilities all date from that era. I am a big fan of art-deco design which are probably best exemplified by these posters. I think I just love those Art-Deco asthetics, everything just looks good.

Streamlining was one product of Art-Deco. This is the famed Burlington Zephyr.

A very stylish poster from the 1920s. It oozes elegance.

The 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Notice the straight lines of the towering building.

Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis. The best example of German Expressionism, Art-Deco and modernistic design in cinema.

 

He’s back

Posted: December 27, 2009 in Formula 1
Tags: , ,

Here’s a photo I took back in 2005 of two very old Formula 1 drivers. I did not think that either of these guys would be still around in F1 in 2010. I would never have dreamed that the guy on the right would have been second in the World Driver’s Championship in 2009. I also would never have thought that the guy on the left would be returning after a three year retirement. I certainly would never have believed he’d be driving for any team other than the Prancing Horse.

Dan DeCarlo

Posted: December 25, 2009 in Archie Comics
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Here’s a pic I found by artist Dan DeCarlo.

I have posted this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it has been ages since I posted anything comic book related, and DeCarlo was one of the finest comic book artists of the 1950s. He spent many years working for Archie Comics and created Josie & the Pussycats, as well as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He also drew many pin-up girl cartoons like the one above, for men’s magazines.

I also think that the girl in the pic above looks a lot like Betty from the Archie comic book. (And you thought the kids in Riverdale were all clean cut!)


Here’s a final Rockwell Santa Claus that I forgot to post in the last update.

This is from 1920.


As Christmas 2009 comes to an end I thought that I would post some Christmas covers of the Saturday Evening Post, featuring the iconic depictions of Santa Claus by Norman Rockwell. I believe that most of the come from the 1920s.

 

There is a myth that Coca Cola and Haddom Sundblom created the moderb image of Father Christmas, but as can be seen here, Rockwell was portraying him in the way we now know a decade before Coke did.


You can find more information on this famous ad campaign from here.


I used to be a big wrestling fan and loved the WWE. I first got into wrestling back in the 80s when it was shown on Channel 10, when Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Andre The Giant ruled the ring. In the early 1990s Channel 10 dropped the then WWF and it wasn’t until we got Foxtel in 1996 that I again began watching the wrestling, although this was WCW Nitro, as Foxtel did not pick up the WWF Raw Is War until 1997 a few months before the Montreal screwjob. That is when I got back into the WWF and stars such as Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, The Rock and Triple H. I watched both WCW and the WWF until WCW was bought out by Vince McMahon and continued to be a big WWE fan until the death of Eddie Guerrero. For a little while I took a vague interest in WWE but the Chris Benoit, who was once my favourite wrestler, went and brutally murdered his wife and son before committing suicide. Since then I have tried to get back into WWE but every time I watch something happens that turns me completely off. I want to watch and enjoy the wrestling like I once did but I think that some changes need to be made before I can do so. So in that spirit here is a list of things I would do to fix the various problems that exist in the WWE.

  • Get rid of the stupid RAW guest hosts.

I don’t know why the WWE continues having Z-list celebrities host what should be its biggest TV show of the week. Worse still is that there is a rumour that Vince wants to extend this practice to Smackdown. Apparently Stephanie McMahon wants RAW to be like Saturday Night Live but unfortunately she has forgotten that at least SNL has actual celebrities hosting and nt some random baseballer, NASCAR driver or boxer. The WWE should remember that they are in fact a GLOBAL brand but the celebrities that they have had on have all been known only in the USA. It’s sad when the celebrities that the WWE have hosting their show are less well-known that the WWE wrestlers themselves. They don’t add anything to the show and you cannot get excited about someone who you have never heard of hosting the show. Worse is that most guest hosts have been terrible and have made the show a complete train wreck, fit only for Wrestlecrap.

I also don’t like the idea of the guest hosts making decisions that are usually reserved for a management type figure. It is annoying that some ‘big’ star will make a PPV match up yet he doesn’t even know the name of the PPV. For example when Jeremy Piven (who?) mistakenly called Summerslam by the name of Summerfest. It’s just stupid.

  • Have some respect for women.

The WWE seems at times to have no respect for women at all. Take the current ‘Piggy’ James angle where Michelle McCool has been taunting Mickie James and calling her fat, even though in she is not fat at all. This one angle would alienate 100% of the female fans of the WWE, but we know how Vince and the WWE thinks that normal women should be stick thin with impossibly huge breasts.

Another example of this is the ritual humiliation of Vickie Guerrero, the wife of one of the most loved superstars of the WWE, the late Eddie Guerrero. despicably Vicki has been flat-out called fat and ugly various times on TV and every time I see her being humiliated on TV all I can think of is that Eddie would be spinning in his grave. I don’t blame Vickie because she probably needs the money after her husband’s untimely death, but surely the WWE could just give her a little respect.

The TNA wrestling competition treat their women wrestlers so much more respectfully than the WWE. They treat their women as proper wrestlers and give them actual storylines. While they sometimes have stupid angles that are pure t’n’a (pardon the pun), the Knockouts are a highlight of their show.  Their best Knockout, the awesome Awesome Kong is treated like the great wrestler she is, where I am sure if she was in the WWE the only thing that would be mentioned would be her weight.

  • Enough with Hornswoggle already

We all know that to Vince McMahon that midgets = hilariously funny but that in reality Vince that is not the case. Hornswoggle started a as sort of  funny, kid friendly character, which is OK, but please don’t put him in with the main eventers like DX and certainly don’t put him over really good wrestlers like Chavo Guerrero. The joke has become really stale now and most wrestling fans I know just change the channel when Hornswoggle appears on the screen. It is so frustrating as a viewer that the horrible comedy skits that feature Hornswoggle take up so much screen time while there are talented wrestlers who don’t get on TV much at all. Maybe if Vince really wants to give Horny a job he could do it in a way that that doesn’t insult the intelligence of the viewers and doesn’t take too much time.

  • Bring back managers

I don’t know why but it has been a long time since any of the WWE wrestlers have had a manager.I think that whenever some heel wrestler needs to get some heat with a live crowd they give them Vicky Guerrero as a mouthpiece, but that’s about it. I remember the old days when Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan and ‘Captain Lou’ Albano used to be such immensely popular figures in the WWF. And there was of course Miss Elizabeth as well. Managers used to be used as mouthpieces for those wrestlers who were not that great on the microphone. Now we get guys like Randy Orton, who could use a manager, stumbling and bumbling their way through promos and generally boring the crap out of viewers. Imagine how much more over Orton would be if he had a manager to assist him with his promos.

  • Bring back Tag Teams

Remember the Hart Foundation, Demolition, the Legion Of Doom and the Steiner Brothers back in the 80s and early 90s? For those  who grew up watching in the Attitude era, remember Edge * Christian, the Hardy Boys  and The Dudley Boyz? What has happened to the Tag Team division of the WWE since those days. Now there is really only Chris Jericho and the Big Show and D-X in the Tag Team division, as well as some other teams like Cryme Time that no-one cares about. There could be a potentially great tag division if only the WWE saw it as being important.

  • Give RAW a general manager

Even if the WWE persists with the stupid guest host schtick on RAW they should have a general manager appointed to at least make the guest host making decisions angle more logical. Then they could explain that the GM has spoken to the guest host and told them what they can and can’t do and updated them on the state of the WWE and RAW. The GM could also be with the guest host to help them when they make the inevitable stumble on live TV and need someone to guide them through whatever they are meant to be doing.

  • Give the fans a reason to care / Try to get the fans involved more

A couple of weeks ago the WWE had their Slammy Awards where they made up some awards to give the wrestlers. Nobody knows who nominated the wrestlers for the awards or voted for them, because the WWE’s audience sure didn’t have any involvement. Surely in these days of the internet technology the WWE could make the Slammys legitimate and have their audience vote on the categories. This would add to audience interest, but perhaps the WWE doesn’t want this as then wrestlers other than those ordained by the WWE might end up getting awards. Still I think it would be good for the audience to have a say in something like this rather than it just be another way for WWE management to reward their favourite wrestlers. (Isn’t that what belts are for anyway!)

I could also improve the WWE draft which usually occurs after Wrestlemania, in the name of increasing fan interest. My idea would be for the WWE to have a draft month, where with the exception of each brands champions, the wrestlers, managers and commentators all become free agents and they have to negotiate contracts with the GMs of Smackdown, RAW and ECW to get a contract with the particular show. In this way we could have the Smackdown GM appearing on RAW and vice versa, negotiating with a particular wrestler who has always been part of RAW. This could be the month where the brands become more important that the championships, although when negotiating with a wrestler we could hear a GM talk about the history and lineage of a particular championship.  We could also have the heel wrestlers make extreme demands of the GMs and commentators put over all this. (I don’t think I’ve explained my idea too well.) Also on each brand they could have try-out matches instead of building up to a PPV feud. All contracts would have to be signed by the end of the main event of the next PPV.

I can hear you say that my idea is good, except that it would leave the PPV empty, as there would be no championships on the line and no feuds built up. My idea would be for this PPV to be like the Bragging Rights one that was on in 2009, but this time we have a reason to care for the brands. We could also have a Clash of the Champions type main event, where there is a three-way dance featuring the WWE, ECW and World Heavyweight Champion. We could also have Intercontinetal vs US Heavyweight champion and RAW vs Smackdown Tag Team champions. No belts would be on the line, only the prestige of being the best brand and promoting your brand to wrestlers who have not yet signed a contract.

I do have more ideas on how to improve the WWE product but will leave that for another time. Perhaps this will become a series of posts?