Category Archives: doll collecting

Rise of the Bargain Bin Goon – Part 2

The vile Greek God of computer malfunctions, Sparkensputter Failtolodicuss, put his curse on this post yesterday as I almost had it completed.  He waved his dead skunk, the symbol of his unique power, and made WordPress delete my work and instantly save the changes.  I did some cussing and vowed to try and reassemble the post today.  It was intended to be a continuation of Action Figure Cartoons, starring Captain Action.  We shall see if Sparkensputter manages to thwart me again today.  He is hell at thwarting.

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So here is a brief and goofy explanation of what has happened so far.  Captain Carl Action and the Action Guy Action Team defeated the evil Dr. Evil as he tried to take over Mickey’s library.  You can find that whole mess in Mickey’s vault by clicking here.

Captain Carl Action not only defeated the evil Dr. Evil, he removed and stole Dr. Evil’s evil removable brain.  So Emperor Ming of Mongo, an evil incarnation of the evil Dr. Evil, came up with a plan to retrieve the brain by un-boxing one of Mickey’s mint-in-box bargain bin dolls… er, action figures.  You can review that whole mess here.

So, that brings us to today’s episode in the seemingly endless story of the sequel of a seemingly endless story.

Captain Carl Action has taken the evil brain of the evil Dr. Evil to the Action Guy Action Team Headquarters in the Fortress of Ineptitude, located on top of a useless computer in Mickey’s studio.

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As seen in this dramatic scene, you can probably tell that the Action Guy Action Team Headquarters is run by the Captain Action Council, made up of Captain Action in his Flash Gordon costume, the mint-in-box Captain Victor Action, and the vintage Captain Action in his Steve Canyon costume.  You can also probably tell by Steve Canyon’s goofy brain-eating bug comment that none of them are any brighter than Captain Carl Action.  They have all decided to rely on the dolls of Mickey’s big-headed dolls collection.  That decision also reeks of lack of brightness.

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Captain Carl Action has once again delegated primary responsibility for the situation to a group of dolls who are very good at guarding Crackerjacks.  It was fortunate that DC Comics recently released a new set of DC Super Hero Girls to attract Mickey’s collecting OCD.  It meant that big-headed Supergirl was available now to be an actual super-powered guardian.  Still, she had to find a strategy that would succeed.  So she turned to her crackerjack team for advice.

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Now, I hate to second-guess Supergirl, but why is she asking an evil bunny for advice?  And how did an evil bunny even get on to a gig like being part of the big-headed dolls’ crackerjack team?

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Shelf of Severed Heads?!!!?  That doesn’t sound right.

 

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Oh, my!  This is really not looking good for our heroes.  Stay tuned until next time… whenever the heck that is… same batty time, same batty channel.  And phooey on you,  Sparkensputter Failtolodicuss!

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Rise of the Bargain Bin Goon

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One of the biggest problems with being an action figure aficionado with raging hoarding disorder is the fact that every new dolly has it’s own personality… and sometimes its own evil agenda.  Once you own too many of these things, especially the evil ones, it is no longer possible to properly pay attention to what they are up to.

The last installment of Action Figure Comics had the hero, Captain Action (specifically Captain Carl Action) thwarting the evil Doctor Evil by taking away his evil removable brain.  (I know I use the word evil far too often in describing the evil Doctor Evil, but he is also repetitively redundant.)  I had thought this Achilles’ heel of Dr. Evil’s… er, rather, this Achilles’ brain of the evil Doctor Evil was just too convenient a solution to the problem presented by this irrepressible evil bad guy.  But as a rule I find ignorance is bliss.     I know now that I was wrong.  That was a terrible rule to follow.  As a former teacher you are supposed to know that ignorance is not bliss… it is evil.  After 31 years of fighting the War Against Ignorance in my classroom, you would think I would remember this.  I should’ve been watching Emperor Ming of Mongo more closely… or should that be closlier?  Battle scars from the War have left me unsure.

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One has to recall that Evil Emperor Ming is really just another incarnation of the evil Doctor Evil under his mask… although not one with a removable brain.  Notice that his minion, the evil Doctor Mindbender is no less evil when it comes to redundant use of the word “evil”… and he even commits the further sin of repetitively saying “no-good goody-goody”.  “Ach!  Ja!  Evil use of bad grammar makes my battle scars hurt more!” cries the former teacher driven to write this hopeless drivel.

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What’s this?  He means to destroy the new bargain bin wrestler doll… I mean, action figure that I just bought?  I had meant to keep that as a mint in box collector’s item until the lucha wrestling fans of Sin Cara are as old as I am now.  Then I will find one of them with hoarding disorder and sell it for possibly eight dollars.  I will have made a whole dollar by the time I’m 109!

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Yes, I should’ve been watching that dang evil Emperor Ming more closely!  Now he has ruined my mint-in-box action figure by taking it out of the box.  What bad thing will he do next?  Stay tuned to this goofy old blog.  You never know, I may actually continue this story if I can keep better track of what these goofy little dolls are doing.

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Return of the Star Wars Figures

On a previous Saturday I admitted to the crime of using 12-inch action figures to play the Star Wars role-playing game.  The Dungeons and Dragons RPG world was horrified.  You are supposed to use scale-appropriate metal miniatures.  How can you simulate combat without small figures on a grid?  I have to confess.  It was via x’s and dots on graph paper.  But we didn’t use the action figures to represent ranges and lines of site in combat.  And one of my players was my niece, an actual girl.  So, I guess, to be honest, we were actually playing with dolls.

But it helps to have a lot of dolls.

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Emperor Palpatine, Snow Trooper, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, Quigon, Droid Soldier, and home-made Mace Windu

We started play after the first two movies in the Prequel Trilogy.

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Wicket, Imperial Walker, Astroboy (What’s he doing there?) Darth Vader, Little Anakin, and Boba Fett.

We got creative with stories.

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Jango Fett, General Grievous, and Admiral Akbar

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Anakin Skywalker

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Robot from Lost in Space, R2D2, Slave Girl Leia, and a Green Orion Slave Girl Dancer from Star Trek

So there is evidence available to my offspring to help them have me committed to an institution.  The truth is, these are not even all of my Star Wars Dolls.  So this morning’s confession session is now at an end, though all of the horrible truth is not yet revealed.

 

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MessMaster 2018

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Yes, my life is more or less a big ol’ mess.  I am bankrupt.  I am ill constantly.  I am an Uber driver who made $31 in the rain today.  I am a retired middle school teacher and ESL teacher.  So my messy mental conflagrations are certainly understandable.

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I had made a vow back in November I was going to clean the house and put everything in order, especially my room which I use as a studio for writing and drawing.  I even had the dolls, er, action figures all positioned in poses that were dynamic and artsy.  Then G.I. Joe decided he had to insert his nose between firefighter Barbie’s breasts, knocking her fire hat to who-knows-where.  Nothing stays where I put it.  Pictures keep falling off the wall because it is cold enough to harden the plaster-tack that I put them up with.

20180107_081716And, of course, I have hoarding disorder so bad that I can’t resist starting new collections of dolls when toy-makers are putting out the new stuff at Christmas, even though the Princess has thoroughly outgrown dolls.  And I am not alone in having hoarding disorder.  While we were cleaning bedrooms, my daughter found a fluffy rug that would be perfect for the bathroom.  But no.  My wife is saving it.  It has to stay folded and put away where it won’t get dirty.  We have closets stuffed full of clothing and other stuff that is rarely or never used.  And I do not dare throw any of it out or move it to anyplace else.  I can move my stuff, not hers.

But I did complete a collection.  I managed to get enough of the new Justice League figures to make a pretty decent Justice League collection.  20180107_183635

Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg have joined multiple older Batmen, Supermen, and Wonder Women to round out the League.  Of course, I have at least one Green Lantern too.  Though GL wasn’t in the recent movie.

20180107_081914‘There are dolls everywhere in my room, so any attempt to clean starts with picking them up off the floor and putting them somewhere safer.  These four are now living behind the TV.   I just wish they would stay put for a while and quit leaping off shelves when they come alive after midnight every night.

I fully intend to keep on cleaning and Uber driving and writing.  And I will probably continue in my spare time to play with dolls and rearrange stuff.  You have to understand, I am old.  And more than a little goofy.

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This is What Happens When You Leave a Crazy Old Retired Guy Alone With a Doll Collection and a Camera

Yes, I know this is supposed to be a Saturday Art Day Post, but you can make art in many different ways. That can include pictures made with a camera while I play with dolls… er… action figures and try horrifically to be funny. There is an art to that, right? Maybe?

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Thinking Differently

Buckminster Fuller is an intellectual hero of mine.  As he said in the video, if you bothered to watch it, “I was told I had to get a job and make money, but would you rather be making money, or making sense?”  Bucky was always a little bit to the left of center, and basically in the farthest corner of the outfield.  That’s why we depend so much on him in times like these when the ball is being hit to the warning track.  (I know the world doesn’t really work on baseball metaphors any more, but my life has always been about metaphors from 1964 with the St. Louis Cardinals playing and beating the New York Yankees.  Mantle was on their side, but Maris was playing for us.)  You have to live in the world that fits into your own mental map of reality.  And if you’ve been whacked on the side of the head one too many times… it changes the way you think.  You begin to think differently.  

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If you don’t know who Bucky is, as you probably don’t because he revolutionized the world in the 60’s and died in the 1980’s,  Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor.  He is credited with the invention of the Geodesic Dome.  But he was so much more than that.  He wanted to build things that made better sense, in a practical sort of way, than the way we actually do them.  He built geodesic homes because he felt a home should maximize space and use of materials and minimize costs and amounts of materials as well as environmental impacts.  He is the one who popularized the notion of “Spaceship Earth”.  He wrote and published more than thirty books, and gave us a variety of truly wise insights.  He promoted the concept of synergy.  He said, “Don’t fight forces, use them.”  He also pointed out, “Ninety per cent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”  He was a man full of quotes useful for internet memes.

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So, lets consider an example from the mixed up mind of Mickey;

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Here are three dolls from the Planet of the Apes part of my doll collection. (Two different movies are represented here, the 1968 original, and the Tim Burton 2001 remake.)

The world we now live in is increasingly like the movie, The Planet of the Apes.  In that film the world the astronauts set down upon is ruled by talking apes.  The human beings in that film are relegated to the fields and forests where they are no more than speechless animals.  Much like the Republican Party and the wealthy ruling elite of this day and age, the apes control everything and, led by Dr. Zaius (seen on the far right) reject science and evidence as a way to explain things.  They rely on the rules set down by the Lawgiver in much the same way that modern day Republicans swear by the U.S. Constitution to determine the truth of all things.

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Here we see the apes capturing and enslaving Marky Mark… er… Mark Wahlberg rather than Chuck Heston from the original movie.

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In the original set of movies, Charleton Heston, playing the astronaut Taylor, discovers that through hatred and warring, the human beings of Earth have bombed themselves back into the stone age and enabled the evolved apes to take over.  How does Mr. Heston deal with that problem?  He discovers an old doomsday device and blows up the world.  Chuck Heston has always approved Second Amendment solutions to modern problems, so it is no wonder that he lays waste to everything, the good and the bad.  I think we can see that old orangutan-man, Donald Trump doing exactly the same things now as he runs for President, or Great Ape, or whatever…

In both the previous series, and the current remake, salvation from the rule of the monkey people comes in the form of a leader among the apes.  Caesar, whether he be played by Roddy MacDowell or by Andy Serkis, is able to solve the problems of apes and men by reaching out to those of the other species, assigning them value, and ultimately doing what helps everyone to survive and live together.  Diversity is power and provides a workable solution through cooperation.  The forces of hatred and fear are the things that must be overcome and threaten the existence of everyone.  Donald Trump needs to learn from the lesson of The Planet of the Apes, and be less like General Ursus.   We need Bernie Sanders to embrace the role of Caesar and show us how we can get along with our Muslim brothers… after all, they are more like us than the apes are, and Caesar builds bridges between apes and men.

So, there you have it, my attempt to build a new model based on an old movie… or on the remake… whichever you prefer.  And if that doesn’t work, well, there’s always…

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“Mickey, What’s Wrong With You?”

20171228_091308Yes, I am trying to answer that old question that old girlfriends used to ask me back when they were young and I was young and too stupid to answer honestly.  You know, the question always asked right before they tell you, “Why don’t we just be friends and leave it at that.”

After having spent my Christmas money from Mom on an 18-inch giant gorilla action figure of Kong on Skull Island to terrorize all the dolls on the Barbie Shelf after midnight when all the dolls secretly come to life, I feel more prepared than ever before to answer that particular question.

I am not in my second childhood.  I am still in my first one.  Yes, I reached the ripe old age of 12 and then Peter Pan Syndrome set in bigtime.  On the inside, I will always be 12 years old.  I still, at 61, play games and play with toys.  I never really grew up.

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I am not a Brony, but I am still buying My Little Pony dolls, and can name all six of the main characters.  From left to right, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle.  And yes, I have watched the cartoon show and like it, but am still not a Brony, okay?  There are a lot of things wrong with me, but I am not that bad!  My kids, however, are embarrassed to be seen with me when I am shopping for toys at Walmart, Toys-R-Us, or Goodwill.

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I still play with the HO scale model trains that I have owned and collected since the first year I was actually twelve.  I would love to get them running again.  The Snowflake Special and the Toonerville Trolley seen in the picture both still ran the last time I tested them four years ago.  I still love to paint buildings and HO scale people to live in my little train town.  I am still working on a set of townspeople that I bought back in 1994.  German villagers circa 1880.

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I have always been fascinated by imaginary places and the people who live in them.  Especially imaginary places in the fiction of the past.  Places like the castle of Minas Tirith in the realm of Gondor in Middle Earth, and like Pellucidar that David Innes and Abner Perry discovered at the Earth’s Core in their boring machine called “the Prospector”as part of the Pellucidar series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan novels.  So, another thing wrong with me is that I live mostly in the past and entirely in the worlds of my imagination.  I have very little to do with the so-called “real world”.

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So, to sum up, the things wrong with Mickey are; A. He’s a goofy old child.  B.  He still plays with toys.  C.  He likes girly stuff.  D. He confuses fantasy with reality.   No wonder the girls used to run away screaming.  And I haven’t even added the part about Mickey thinking he is a nudist now and walking around the house naked when no one else is home and forced to see the full horror of it.

But maybe you should think on it for a moment more.  What if the things that are wrong with Mickey are actually good things?  What if he’s found the secret to long life and happiness in spite of a world full of troubles and illnesses and blechy stuff?  It could be true…

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To the Best of My Knowledge…

by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

… Bouguereau spells his name funny. But he always painted from live models who posed in direct sunlight. He had a skylight and large windows in his studio.

… We probably only have less than twelve years to reverse the effects of climate change. If we don’t manage it somehow, we could cause the oceans to turn acidic and the heat to reach temperatures that would kill off life on the entire planet.

… I most likely will not live to see that happen, but my children probably will.

… Nudity is good for you. But you will never pose in a Bouguereau painting. He died in 1905.

… Grown men who collect dolls, and sometimes still play with them, are not necessarily insane, or suffering from dementia, but I only know this based on a sample of one.

… John F Kennedy was assassinated in a plot that was probably orchestrated by LBJ who benefitted the most from his death. LBJ was facing serious legal consequences from the Billy Saul Estes investigation that simply went away after JFK’s death. Even though he was president the day JFK died, he would’ve had to have had the help of former CIA Director Alan Dulles. And when J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI found out through his informant, Lee Harvey Oswald, before the assassination, he was rendered helpless to do anything because LBJ and Dulles knew about his adventures as a gay man. Oswald was framed for the murder and silenced by Jack Ruby for having informed on the plot.

… This is only hearsay knowledge, gathered from books by Jim Marrs, a movie by Oliver Stone, testimony by Louisiana District Attorney Jim Garrison, and the deathbed confession video of CIA Agent E. Howard Hunt.

… The knowledge we store in our organic and malleable brains is never one-hundred percent correct. But it is much closer when backed up by sources, unless they are provably crazy sources… as all of the sources I mentioned for the JFK assassination theory have been accused of being at one time or another.

Starfield Boogie by Mickey B.

… I have personally seen three UFOs in my lifetime. None of them, however, are likely to be aliens from outer space. The one in South Texas seen at night and the one here in Dallas seen just before sunset, black triangles with rows of lights in a V shape, were probably military tests (there is a proving ground for pilots and experimental aircraft south of San Antonio, and there was a familiar-looking military jet following the one in Dallas. The other one in Dallas was probably a weather event, like a sun-dog.

… I choose to believe aliens from other worlds are visiting this planet, but the evidence I base that on comes in part from sources more wacky and discredited than the JFK ones. But there is actually less credible evidence on the side of the debunkers, and a reasonable skeptic finds holes in both arguments.

… Climate change will probably render both the JFK thing and the aliens thing irrelevant before too much longer. Maybe the Bouguereau/nude modeling thing too for that matter.

… These are things that I know to the best of my knowledge, but still wonder about anyway. And I could be completely wrong about all of it, (Except the Bouguereau being dead thing. I’m not wrong about that.)

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My Mother’s Dolls

Tom Sawyer without the straw hat, as created by Lois Beyer

Tom Sawyer without the straw hat, as created by Lois Beyer

You may already know about my doll-collecting mania.  You may have already called the mental health people to come take care of the problem, and they just haven’t arrived at my door yet with the white coat that has the extra long sleeves.  But you may not know that my mother is a doll-maker and has something to do with my doll-collecting hoarding disorder.

In the early 1990’s my mother and I put our money together and bought a kiln while we were visiting my sister’s family out in California.  It wasn’t the most expensive model, but it wasn’t the cheapest, either.  We both had enough experience with ceramics that we didn’t want to buy a burning box that was merely going to blow our porcelain projects to kingdom come.  Mother had doll-making friends in Texas who taught her about firing greenware and glazing and porcelain paint and all the other arcane stuff you have to know to make expensive hand-made dolls.  Now, honestly, at the start we could’ve made some money at it selling to seriously ill doll collectors and other kooks, but we were not willing to part with our early art, and by the time we were ready to do more than just have an expensive hobby, everyone who would’ve paid money for the product was making their own.  So dreams of commercial success were supplanted by the hobbyist’s mania that made more and more charming little things to occasionally display at the county fair.

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The two dolls I have left to share on my blog from that era were both crafted by my mother.  She lovingly fired the porcelain body parts, painted the faces by hand, and created the wardrobe on her Singer sewing machine.  I made some dolls too, but never with the wondrous craft and care that made my mother’s dolls beyond compare.

Tom Sawyer was originally a boy doll who was supposed to be able to hold a model train in his hands.  My mother had the pattern for the little engineer’s uniform and hat that she would use on another doll instead.  He is named after the Tom Sawyer clothing pattern that my mother bought and sewed together to dress him in.  He has a cloth and stuffing body underneath his clothes together with porcelain head, hands, and bare feet.

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The other doll I have left to brag unctuously about is a doll named Nicole after the niece my wife and I have whom this doll bares a striking resemblance to.  She displays a beautiful little girl’s sun dress with quilted accent colors that my mother sewed from scratch with the help of a pattern she was truly fond of and used more than once.

These dolls were gifts to my wife and I, presented shortly after my mother bought out my share of the kiln when she retired and moved back to the frosty land of the Iowegians.  I haven’t kept them as thoroughly dusted and cobweb-free as they deserve because I have been a somewhat lazy and slovenly son… but I do love them almost as much as (and sometimes more depending on recent behavior) my own children.  (After all, porcelain kids rarely make a mess, overspend allowances, or hog the television too much.)

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Rest and Repair

Sometimes we all get a little tattered, a little weather-worn. Especially during this pandemic.

I rescued the little Valentine Bear from the pile of stuff from my mother-in-law’s house, the one that was sold this last spring. We still have all the rescued stuff on our patio, open to the weather, and the raccoons from the city park across the street.

I suspect he belonged to one of the two nieces that each lived for a time with Grandma. Sarooty Incaboody or Maroody Walladooty. One of them, though not both of them, and I haven’t given you their real names. Grandma had to move to San Antonio where there are more Filipino relatives to protect her from the virus. But less room for a lifetime of stuff that once belonged to her and my long-gone father-in-law.

You can see his right ear is damaged and needs to be resewn with red thread. His fur is a little crusty from the rain this last week and the dirt blown by the cold winds from this week. He’s a mess, and I thought I better bring him in and fix him up before the park fairies do the whole Velveteen Rabbit thing to him. After all, we don’t need a baby polar bear wandering around the Dallas suburbs, do we? And someone once loved him enough to keep him. He deserves to be cared for in retirement as much as I do.

I myself am a bit tattered and weather-worn by this pandemic. Being trapped in the house all day every day deprives me of the physical activity that keeps my heart healthy and my diabetes under control. My mental health is a little ragged around the edges as well. In this house we tend to get kinda snippy about money woes and unpaid bills. My wife and I now have separated finances. I am bankrupt and she is counting on Armageddon to overcome her credit-card-debt monsters.

My answer to the crisis continues to revolve around books and writing and movies and documentaries. I retreat into stories and ideas, both in the form of fiction and well-researched nonfiction. I throw myself whole-souled into the promotion of my books by earning the necessary points from Pubby by reading and reviewing the books of others and spending the points on honest reviews from other writers reading my books. I have never reviewed so many books before. Especially new is the number of badly written books that I have to slog through and then review honestly in a way that doesn’t crush the spirit of the slow-learning writing masses. I think so far I have only driven one writer to quit the review exchange. And I have only received two cruel and unfair reviews on my work. Which is, of course, less than expected.

The least mind-bending activity I use to repair my psyche is fixing up and playing with dolls, as indicated by the photos I have used in this post.

In these pictures you see five bargain-bin dolls and toys, two dolls bought at Goodwill and cleaned and dressed in a reclamation project. One repurposed aquarium decoration (the skull) and one Pinkie Pie that I bought with Christmas money at the full six-dollar price.

By doing these things, I have managed to avoid getting Covid 19 and generally avoid depression and mental illness.

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