Planet Sub’s Gobble-Gobble Goodness

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

As a kind gesture to those of us who enjoy a cheap sandwich, Planet Sub offers a 6″ turkey sub for $2.50 each time the KC Royals win.

“But, Skippy!” you protest.  “I don’t want to have to sit through a Royals’ game.  Or any baseball game, for that matter.  I actually enjoy life and want to do something exciting, like racing slugs.”

Fear not, for now there’s a solution!  No need to check the scores or watch the actual game.  Instead, just go to the following page and it will let you know whether today is a scrumptious-sandwich-for-cheap day, the boys in blue have lost (again), or if they’ve even bothered playing.

Planet Sub’s Gobble-Gobble

I know, awesome, right?

Chihuahua Freak

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

In the beginning, I was afraid.  A mad–very mad–chihuahua had killed my father, and I wasn’t sure I could ever have faith in nature’s Taco Bell canine ever again.  Once that trust is broken, once a two-inch-high ball of pointy ears and fur rends a relative in twain, you can see where the relationship would sour.

Plus, I was never a fan of tacos.

In the end, however, I was won over by two things: 1.) a nifty inheritance (thanks, Dad!), and 2.) a web log reaching out to me and others like me.  A blog dedicated to proving to the world that chihuahuas, although fiercer than pit bulls and deadlier than poodles (truth: poodles are pissed underneath all those foofy haircuts), are sweetness and light.  Catch them at the right moment, even, and you’ll see their softer side of Sears: wearing ties, playing drums, sporting shirts with skulls on the front…  er.

Also, the blog owner rocks the guitar and is hot. Sometimes, that’s just how things are.

My Mom’s A Babe

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Because, you know, Dad’s hurt feelings are what’s really keeping me from banging Mom.

I Heart Jocasta

(I Heart Jocasta)

Very Important: You May Die

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

… if you miss the muses of Softee this Friday.

Plus, buy a CD while you’re there.  Or two.  Or, three hundred. (A true fan of art will buy three hundred because he–or she–knows it’s the right thing to do.  Should you actually have a life-ending experience (say, being eaten by an alligator) and go to meet your maker, he–or she–will stare at you with those accusing eyes of holiness and demand whether you supported the ladies of Softee three hundred times.  And if you answer in the negative, you will be cast down.  Down!  So, I guess what I’m saying is that Softee is a religious experience.  Except, without the touching of the altar boys.)

Do You Love Me? (Plus, Free Stuff!)

Friday, July 18th, 2008

“Oh, Skippy–do you love me?” she asked.

“Of course,” I replied.  “I’m wearing my best bow-tie and suspenders.  Not everyone rates such snazzy duds.”

“But, Skippy, I need more.  You’re dashing in the tie, and no one, not even Mork, could shoulder snappy suspenders like you can, but it’s not enough.  I crave… something.”

What was it, I wondered.  Diamonds?  Rubies? Leather gear?  A socket wrench or a bowl of cereal or a cute chipmunk or the smell of a ringing phone or the cat’s meow sans cat or a mime’s vocal cords on a silver platter (the mime objected, but it was a mute point) or maybe a rhubarb pie?  “Maybe some pie?” I suggested.

“No, Darling, not pie.  Not even rhubarb trimmed by mime bits.  Something else, something that says you love me, but says it in neon, in flashy, in shoo-bop, shoo-wadda-wadda, yipitty-boom-de-boom.  I need–”


“–a mix CD.”

And so, I made one for her.  Filled with the cheesy goodness I listened to back in the days before I turned into an old grump.  And if you want one, it’s yours.  Just shoot me your name and mailing address to this address (click me!) Want to know what’s on it?  Too bad! (If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise.  Plus, you know, you might not want it.  Let’s take things slowly, you and I, so that our passion doesn’t burn out so quickly.)

I’ll also send you one of our cats. (Not really.)  And one of our dogs. (Very possible.)  But mostly, the CD. (This one’s true.)  ‘Cause I’m giving like that.  Look at me: I give.  I’m a giver.

The Ghostess With The Mostess

Monday, July 14th, 2008

If you wasted at least part of your youth in Kansas City during the ’80s, there’s a good chance you might have spent a few late nights watching Kansas City’s very own Maven of the Macabre, Crematia Mortem.  Haunting our televisions from 1981 until 1988, Crematia was the ghoulish hostess of KSHB-TV 41’s Creature Feature.  During most of this period, KSHB was not yet a network affiliate, so they had much more control over their programming; they owned the movies they presented, and could schedule blocks of time devoted to original local programs. (Kansas City even had its own morning show with AM Live–a disappointing discovery for kids who stayed home sick, yet within the range of a television.  After the morning cartoons were over, you were forced to watch AM Live, soap operas, or trucking commercials.  Oddly enough, I think I miss the trucking commercials.)

KSHB handed the reins of its late-night Saturday horror program to Roberta Solomon, a successful voice personality across the nation.  Roberta, after visiting a lingerie shop to pick out the corset for her Vampira-like character, introduced the world to Crematia Mortem, deadly hostess of Creature Feature.  Crematia’s mastery of the darkness was helped along by her loyal companions, Rasputin and Dweeb.  (You never saw them, but you could hear them off-camera.  Dweeb, a stand-in for Fortunato from The Cask of Amontillado, was forever walled up in Crematia’s house due to some often-alluded-to, but never-expounded-upon, vague offense buried in the past.)

During those years I spent a number of weekends at my grandparents’ house in Shawnee, Kansas.  Each weekend night, my grandma pulled out her convertible couch and made it ready for our late-night theater.  (It happened Friday evenings, too, with a competing channel’s Friday Fright Night show.  But, except for an evil laugh and reoccurring image of a malevolent skull flashing on-screen between commercials, it wasn’t as memorable as Crematia’s world.)  I was ecstatic to stay up late into the wee hours of the morning, and I was thrilled to be watching movies about werewolves, vampires, mummies and other bump-in-the-night nasties.  More often than not I cowered when the scary came on screen; other times I slipped into dreamland before the movie was finished.  But, thanks to my grandmother’s willingness to spend time with her grandson, I learned the joy of watching Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and a huge list of other assorted characters from the heyday of Universal Pictures’ horror films.  Special mention goes to Christoper Lee in his menacing role as Dracula in the Hammer films.  To this day Lee is still frightening no matter the part he plays.

So, really, I thank my grandma and Crematia for making Saturday evenings entirely too much fun.  My grandma passed away a few years back, but the memories of coming in from her backyard with a jar filled with either crawdads or fireflies (you caught what you could), letting them loose in her living room (fireflies, only), and then crawling into bed to wait for Crematia to grace the screen with her unforgettable appearance and forgettable cheesy jokes, they’re all still fresh.

These days such a show probably isn’t possible.  Stations, being network affiliates, whore themselves out to infomericals and re-runs of painfully unfunny shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and The King of Queens.  They are, indeed, their own brand of horror, but they don’t quite create the lasting memories the way Crematia did.


That Murderous Oregon Trail

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Oh, BOB II, we hardly knew ya:

And this after your brother, BOB III, died in our first attempt to cross a river.  Damn you, Oregon Trail, damn your uncaring ways!

Oh, hey, look, I got into the top ten!

I may have been a little excited.  But I’m proud to say that BOB (me), BOB IV and BOB V made it through in poor health.  Plus, as a carpenter, my points were doubled. (Beat that, Jesus.)

Meet the Spartans

Friday, June 6th, 2008

You might make a Faustian bargain for power, for youth, for wealth, for a sweet ride with a million horsepower, leather seats, and enough room in the back to stow away two kids, a dog, and any ancillary animals hanging around your pad.

And you may rule your kingdom with a velvet glove of justice and peace for a thousand years; and your subjects may adore you for your wisdom and mercy; and they may celebrate you for your unattainability tempered by sweet familiarity.

And all this may be threatened by the end as Mephistopheles comes to collect your soul as per your demonic agreement; and there might be one way to save it all, to retain your riches; a guaranteed way to void your deal and eventually find your way to heaven (halo and harp supplied); and a good angel may float in from above, flaming sword in hand as he holds off Mephistopheles to give you time to perform this one task; and they’d fight as the midnight hour draws nearer; and then lo, the angel will say to you, “Sweet Child, now is your chance, take it and save your soul, your kingdom, and indeed, the world.”

And he will point to a comfy recliner in front of a grandiose entertainment center; and he will motion for you to pop in Meet the Spartans and watch it as your final task, your saving grace, your defeat of the devil.

That’s when you R-U-N!

It still wouldn’t be worth it.

“I got a rock.”

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

See that thar, Charlie Brown? That’s my baby pumpkin vine, Mortimer. As implied, he’s new to this world, so let’s all take a moment and make him feel welcome. He’s going to be pumpkins, lots of them, even going so far as to be the pumpkin.

Yes, that’s right. The Great Pumpkin. (Suck it, Linus.)

See, I’ve planted pumpkins three times this year. The first time, I was full of hope; I’d started my new gourd-awful hobby with a vegetable medley in my heart and an extra kick to my step. Unfortunately, a wild pack of dogs (which looked absolutely nothing like the three we own… nothing) trampled both the patch and my hopes. So, a week later, after shedding tears, hair and dignity, The Insta-Princess soothed my emotional wounds and convinced me to try again.

But the pack came back.

Despite my fiendishly clever fencing system of small stakes and nylon string, the dogs actually had the audacity to jump over my makeshift barrier and trample my pumpkins again. I reached for my gun. (I have two… both of which I’ve never fired–much less loaded–and both of which are kept because they’re antiques.) The Insta-Princess stopped me in my rage when she pointed out I was inserting the bullets from the wrong end. “And I’m pretty sure that’s not even the rifle. It looks like a curtain rod.”

Week Three: I plant new seeds. But do I stick with one kind? Oh, no, in a shout-out to my desperation, I planted regular field pumpkins, the namby-pamby French kind (“Kids! It’s just like the pumpkin from Cinderella!”), and the really frickin’ huge kind that can grow to over 500 pounds. See, what you’re supposed to do is to whittle down the growing pumpkin sprouts to three to a hill. Not me, I’m leaving all twenty of them in. They can fight their way to the top, even Mortimer; it’ll teach him to be strong, to not take life for granted, to be the best goddamned pumpkin he can be.

And the dogs, like Linus, can suck it.

Unicorn Poo

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Let’s talk poo, shall we? As you can imagine, the Insta-Princess and I have recently become experts on the subject. Specifically, the yellowish saucy kind forever streaming from the back of our kid like a Niagara Falls of excrement. (I’m only hoping that no one tries to either honeymoon there or dash over the edge in a barrel. Really, they’re just going to be disappointed.) Most of you have been dealing with poo your whole lives, and if you haven’t you’re either very lucky or probably have a stopped-up butt the size of Rhode Island. (Rhode Island’s state slogan is Unwind. In this case it’s Downwind.)

But how many of you have dealt with poo from mythical creatures? No one, I bet; at least, the Insta-Princess and I haven’t had the, er… pleasure. So, this is why, when we’re faced with questions or concerns about fantasy fewmets, we turn to our buddy, our pal, our gorgeous go-to-gal over at Unicorn Poo.

It’s true she hasn’t yet talked about the heinie heave of nature’s one-horned wonder, but I hope she eventually does. My mind is filled with questions. For example, noting the unique relationship between unicorns and virgins, does this mean only an unsullied maiden can flush the toilet after a unicorn has dropped the kids off at the pool? Will the flushing fail for everyone else? The mind boggles.

Plus, she’s an awesome illustrator. But everyone knows that, so that’s cool.

Visit her site when you get a chance. Otherwise, I’ll hunt down your address and leave flaming bags of unicorn poo on your doorstep. (Nah, not really. That stuff’s hard to come by–I’ll use regular ol’ dog poo, instead.)

That’s Some Pig!

Monday, April 14th, 2008

My friends, I am a man whose conversion is complete. Before, I was lost. Now, I am… well, sometimes I cheat and look at Google Maps. Before, I could not see. Now, I have X-Ray vision (nice Underoos, by the way). I was a wretch, and now I am a sated wretch.

For I have found Bacon Salt.



And salt.

Married together in a ceremony dancing on the edge of Heaven and Hell, Bacon + Salt have formed an evil yet holy union, poised to reap my soul like Mrs. Dash could only have ever hoped to do, and what Mrs. Butterworth–that succubus of syrup!–tried to do by tempting me with her revealing form. Some fiendish genius allowed his Id and Super Ego to rut around in his taste buds’ pantry, and the result was the combination of two flavors kept apart for thousands of years by nothing more than gastronomical bigotry.

Do you doubt me? Do you say to yourself, “Skippy, no, there’s no government in the world that would approve such a combination. It’d be too fantastic! Why, world peace might break out as we’d all sit down to some eggs and toast liberally decorated with this fabled ambrosia, and then, later, war as bacon salt would be horded and then used to replace all existing currency. It’d be madness!”

Ah, but join me in insanity:


“Everything should taste like Skippy bacon.”

See? I lie not! There’s the miracle mixture, and a watch and a gavel. The watch, because it’s always time to eat bacon salt. And the gavel because, frankly, it should be against the law to not eat the stuff.

Hurry out, friends, and buy your batch of bacon salt. Join the choir visible and sing unto the explosion of deliciousness! And, should you hear rumors that Morton, the reigning Queen of salt makers, utter discouraging words about bacon salt, listen not. She’s just jealous. Besides, I did some digging around their servers and found this hidden, protected image. This is the side of Morton they never wanted you to see. Ladies, please sit before you view this image. Gentlemen, hold strong to something firm. This is no image for children–send them outside to play. For, I reveal to you:


Oh, fie on you, evil Morton! This is the beast you set loose in our cabinets, on our steaks, and in our mashed taters. When the chips are down, when faced with the divine assault of the bacon variety, we see you for who you are. Such terrible appendages! Your trail of salt turns to blood, and your recent carnage is evident from the twin rivulets of red running down your chin, almost a Fu Manchu of grisly terror .

Plus, you eat babies. I mean, c’mon. That’s just wrong.

Remember, friends, turn to the bacon salt. It is the only thing that can save you. (Also, it’s not bad on vegetables. I’m just sayin’.)

Before Parenthood

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Now that I’ve finally uploaded a few videos to YouTube, here’s what the Insta-Princess and I did before Auggy made his appearance.  Also, it’s got a beat and you can dance to it:

Valentine: A Love Story (Not Really)

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

February 14th. Hearts and candy day (but not real hearts; at least, I was told to stop giving those as gifts). This is the day when bloggers regale you with tales of romance, stories of love, and oaths of devotion to “the most beautiful wife a guy can have” or “the bestest husband, ever”.

Not me. (Especially not the husband bit.)

While I adore the Insta-Princess and couldn’t have hoped for a more gorgeous and brilliant creature to worship, happiness and light don’t always make for the most interesting stories. No, pain is needed. Sadness. Possibly even some torture if it can be worked in. You know, dating.

Most of my friends own up to having at least one dating tale of woe; some of them even go so far as to seemingly attract the troublesome men and women wandering the dark streets of our city. Not me, though; I mean, yes, I’ve had a boring date (she was brunette, stunning, and probably the most unexciting person I had ever met; it was if she looked into the mirror one day and said, “You know, I’m hot. That’s all I need to be.”); I’ve had the worshipful date (she giggled at everything I said–which, while amusing and flattering the first ten minutes, gets old and grows mold quickly after… which isn’t to say we didn’t make out afterward); and I’ve had the date where we almost seemed to despise each other right off the bat. “Ah,” I said. “So this is what marriage is like!” But, I never really had the kind of date I fully regretted.

Until Gossamer.  Oddly enough, it wasn’t our first date that was terrible; in fact, I’d say that the first handful of dates were pretty good. Gossamer, the woman with a shock of long, red, red hair, was nice, polite, and shared quite a few of the same interests I had. She even taught 8th Grade English, which meant my crush on her was instant. Teachers are awesome, even when they’re nuttier than Mr. Peanut’s poop. Plus, I got to make out with a teacher–my inner child was both awe-struck and disgusted at the same time.

It wasn’t until after we began The Relationship that I found out how truly crazy she was. Gossamer had, the previous year, divorced her husband. Her ex, a guy called ‘Jeff’, was a college sweetheart who had a huge brain problem. That is, his brain wasn’t huge, but the problem he had with it sure was. Gossamer, to her credit, stood by him through it all, even making sure he married her when he could barely muster enough energy to stand, much less mutter his vows through slurring speech and drooping eye. (Seriously. She made him wear an eye patch to cover it up. The wedding photos were priceless.) “We made a promise to God,” she told me.

Huh. I guess God likes pirate weddings.

Jeff’s brain problem eventually worked itself out. Either the swelling went down (I guess he had a big brain, after all), something was sliced, or they sent him to the Wizard, I dunno. But, he healed and they moved to Kansas City. Which is the place he met a cute blond by the name of Shelly, and cheated on Gossamer with her. That, my friends, is the first hint to which I should have paid attention; I mean, if Jeff jumped the Good Ship Coitus as quickly as he could despite the love, attention, and the nursing-back-to-health Gossamer heaped on him, there must have been a giant, flashing neon sign of “No, No! Go Back!” that he saw above her head and I didn’t.

And, boy, I didn’t.

Gossamer had an endless bag of problems (like Mary Poppins, except nothing really cool ever made its way out of Gossamer’s bag), and were they ever the popular ones: she drank too much and became nonsensical and vicious; her father cheated on her mom and then failed to pay enough attention to her after he hooked up with a new family; she was a preacher’s kid two times over, and even had a few uncles who were preachers and a step-father who was studying to become one; she struggled (struggled!) for her kids at work, but never felt as if anyone gave a damn; she had a whole slew of gastrointestinal medical worries (okay, that’s not really a popular problem to have); and whenever she got gussied up, her eyes were weighted down with so much make-up that, if she blinked, it took a half-hour and a crowbar to get her to see again.

Okay, that last one was less a problem for her and more a complaint on my part. But then, I had to keep on buying the crowbars.

One Christmas season, right after some major stomach surgery for her, I drove Gossamer to and all over Oklahoma so that she could spend the holiday season with her divided family. Actually, I was happy to help out; I liked to travel and I knew she wouldn’t have been able to make it without a chauffeur. Unfortunately, she must have misunderstood what it meant to be an atheist (me, that is), because I was hollered at for not singing religious songs with her Father-The-Preacher-Who-Ignored-Her-And-Cheated-On-Her-Mother-And-Blah-Blah-Blah and his family. “But, I’m atheist,” I explained to her.

Didn’t matter, she insisted. I know the lyrics, it’s a family activity, and I should play along.

“But, I don’t know the lyrics. I was Catholic. We didn’t do so well with the Protestant songs.”

Now I was being stubborn, she told me. Everyone knew the lyrics to these songs.

“Except Catholics,” I pointed out.

Nope. Even them.

So, I lost that battle. Disarmed by her craziness and a lack of knowledge concerning Protestant song lyrics , I failed to impress her father, a man who pulled her aside to advise her on how I lacked “a spiritual side”.

“But, I’m atheist,” I tried explaining again. Ah, well.

Still, Gossamer was cute, the red hair was a plus, and I had nothing else better to do, so I stuck with her. Right up until the point she accused me of getting into her e-mail. Man, she ranted and raved for days about how I had betrayed her, and how her ex-husband had betrayed her, so maybe betrayal wasn’t a good thing. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what she was talking about; it didn’t matter she couldn’t explain how I did it or even how I got her password; all that mattered was that she couldn’t trust me and was I ever rotten. She went on for days while I remained baffled, and she continued on until she slipped up by admitting she had been reading MY e-mail the entire time. (This, I knew how she accomplished. I had left a copy of my e-mail program on her personal computer, locked, but once I was careless and left it unlocked and open to sneaky eyes.)

So, I dumped her. And I came to the conclusion that the first date we went on was one of the worst in my life, due solely to the fact that it led to The Relationship and my experiences visiting Gossamer’s own personal insane asylum. I vowed to hold off on dating at that point until I accomplished a few personal goals and until I could devise a way to make sure my next date was not another Gossamer.

That worked for six months until I met the Insta-Princess.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for hot women.

The Village of the Damned

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

It’s funny, now that we’re a month away from polluting our house with Gerber and Pampers, how people are just now creeping and crawling in to alert us with numerous horror stories of having kids. Before, the Insta-Princess and I were pumped full of anecdotes and foretellings of sweetness and light. “You’ll love having a kid,” we were assured. “It’ll change your life for the better.” Now that they know we’re stuck, that there’s no turning back, it’s a different story.

Last night, for instance, we were out at dinner with our friends Peggy and Wayne. Now, I’ve known Peggy since I was, oh, maybe 11 or 12. Back in the days when I had both energy and hair, I was schlepped to a daycare each afternoon after school; Peggy, as luck would have it, was one of the “teachers” (as we, the young, wide-eyed innocents, called them). She and I bonded over our voracious reading habits, and when she left for college, she was kind enough to be my pen pal. So, over the years we’ve been in contact off and on, and I’m happy to say that she married a great guy and ended up having two wonderful children.

Or, so I thought.

We were eating Greek food (me, with my lamb shank and octopus; everyone else munching on treats I don’t recall because, frankly, mine was so good, who cared about the rest of the world?) when we all stumbled into the inevitable conversation about kids. “You’ll love having a kid,” we were assured. “It’ll change your life for the better.” But then, almost immediately after…

The room got colder. I shivered and turned to look at the Insta-Princess, distracted by the chattering of her teeth. “What’s going on with this wacky temp–” I started to say.

“Help us!”

“What was that?” I asked my wife.

“Wasn’t me,” she chattered, rubbing her arms for warmth. “It sounded like it came from across the table.”

“Look!” I cried, pointing to where Peggy and Wayne sat. “They’ve turned into the zombies from Thriller!”

“Nooooooo,” Peggy Zombie moaned. “Not zombies, just parents.”

“Help us!” Wayne Zombie moaned again.

“Was it the lamb?” I asked. “I’m so sorry. Usually it doesn’t zombifiy people. Maybe if we talk to the chef?”

Wayne Zombie started to say something, but his jaw fell off.

“By God! What’s happened to you?”

They looked at one another. “Kids,” they said. (Well, Peggy said it; Wayne kinda signed it, what with his jaw having fallen off and everything.)

“But,” the Insta-Princess sputtered, “sweetness and light! Sweetness and goddamned light! That’s what you’ve been promising us!”

“They’re demons,” Peggy Zombie insisted. “Hellions, minions of Satan–that’s what kids are. You’ve got to help us get away. Can we borrow your car? Our kids won’t recognize it, so we could be in Mexico before Friday…”

I was confused, horrifed, even. This wasn’t in the manual–and certainly not in the pamphlet Babies ‘R’ Us had given us. Nothing about demons or fallen angels was mentioned. And I checked everywhere, even the page about breast pumps. (I might have checked on that page more than necessary, right, but you can never be too sure.) “This is so unexpected,” I said.

“We had to warn you–” Peggy Zombie started to say. And then stopped. Her eyes, wide with fright, narrowed and flashed a quick red glow. “Mother,” she said in a slightly higher, almost childish voice. “What are you doing? Are you trying to escape again?” Peggy Zombie nodded, slowly, in terror. “It won’t work, Mother,” she continued. “Now grab Father and his jaw, and head home. It’s bath time.”

Peggy Zombie helped Wayne Zombie to his feet, and then hooked his jaw back on. “It’s-been-very-very-very-nice,” they said in unison. “We-will-see-you-again-when-our-children-allow-us.” They turned to leave, heading for the door. But before they got too far, Peggy turned back around. Her eyes flashing red once more, and speaking with the same childish voice as before, she looked directly at the Insta-Princess’s bulging belly.

“Hail, Mephistopheles, our future brother.”

And, then left.

Thus, I fear, our future is cemented. Wiggy, our very own Child of the Corn.

At the very least, it’d make for a cool movie.

Winsome Waggish Warbler of Wuv

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I probably should be a little ashamed to admit this, but since I lack such good sense, I gleefully admit that I’ve been to not just one, but two Oz museums. The first as I was driving back home from a visit to Chicago. I saw signs begging me to abandon the highway and pay a visit to a little lonely house in Chesterton, Indiana.

“Oz museum?” I mused. “What could be more fun than that?”

Turns out, a lot. Mold, poisonous frogs, invading aliens, jagged rectal thermometers; they all would be more fun, I assume (especially that last one), than the Indiana Oz museum. Not because it wasn’t a clean and nice place–it was; nor because the people who ran it were vicious and carried studded whips–I’m fairly sure they didn’t; but because I was surrounded by schmaltzy movie memorabilia. Quite honestly, I don’t care much for the movie, and had wanted to see the original books and ephemera produced when L. Frank Baum was alive and churning out his turn-of-the-century fairy tales. That said, I did abscond with two mugs graced by the illustrations of John R. Neill, the Royal Illustrator of Oz.

A couple of weekends ago, on my birthday, I headed to the second museum in Wamego, Kansas. Wamego is a small, cute town with two museums (one dedicated to Wamego itself) and not much else. The museum I saw original prints of the books, the original color plates of the illustrations by both John R. Neill and W. W. Denslow (Denslow illustrated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Neill took over the artists duties for the rest), as well as a 1901 board game, advertisements for stage productions of the day, and, of course, some schmaltzy movie memorabilia. Unfortunately, no mugs. But I did get a hat.

Which didn’t fit.

I forgot to take my camera with me, so all I had to grab a few quick shots was my phone. Which, of course, with the low lighting and lack of flash, didn’t produce masterpieces. (Not that you’re all clamoring to see a 1960s poster of some kid munching on Oz peanut butter.)

Here’s the thing, though: if it weren’t for the Oz books, I’m not sure I would have met and eventually married the Insta-Princess. When I first ran across the Insta-Princess, it was through an on-line message board; she had started a thread complaining about some e-mail she had received, and had listed her profile location as “Land of Oz”. Thinking that she, too, had read the books (although, these days, years later, I’m not sure what led me to that specific conclusion), I wrote the following as my very first words to her:

I wanna be your Phanfasm of passion, your Yookoohoo of yearning, your Tottenhot of tenderness, your Argonaut of affection and, most of all, your Winsome Waggish Warbler of wuv!

And if that doesn’t work, think I could bribe you with some silver shoes or a magic belt from an ex-Gnome king?

Rico, eh? Suave, no? To her credit, the Insta-Princess played along even though she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. I’m surprised, a week or two later, I managed to wrangle a first date out of her. Go figure.

It must be because I’m a Winsome Waggish Warbler of Wuv.