Category Archives: doll collecting

Adjusting the Barbie Shelf

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I put up Christmas lights over my bed again to use as winter night lights.  But this year I installed hooks to hold them.  Needless to say, the drilling and hammering of hooks made numerous Barbies and other dolls leap headlong off the shelf and into my bed below.  So, once the construction stopped I had to lift them back up into place.  But there were new places for old residents and new residents to fill old places.

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Most of the Minions now occupy new spots where they are less likely to dive off the edge.  Their little unposeable feet don’t balance very well, so it is helpful to put them where they are held back from suicide a bit by Barbie legs and other Minions.  Frankie Stein from Monster High joined the guitar-girl Barbie next to Stacy dolls and My Little Pony Fluttershy.

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Esmeralda is a Goodwill-rescue Disney doll that joined the shelf near bare-chested Ballerina Barbie, also a Goodwell rescue doll.  I haven’t figured out how to keep Ballerina Barbie’s bazzoom-ohs covered by the buttonless jacket she wears.

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The third and final picture shows the remaining shelf leapers back on the shelf with Cat-Burglar Barbie added where she’s never been before.  My Little Pony Applejack decided she was too tired for upright just before the picture was taken.  Oh, well, leaping off shelves really takes it out of you.

I know there is more to show of the Barbie shelf, but it will have to be saved for another day.  All the leapers came from the East end where all the hammering happened.

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Novel Nudists

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I have known nudists for a long time, since the 1980’s in fact.  I have recently dabbled my toes in the cold waters of being a nudist myself.  I did work on pool cracks this past summer while naked.  I made one visit to a nudist park and actually got naked in front of strangers who were also naked.  It is a certain kind of crazy connection to nature, my self, and the bare selves of others to be a nudist, even if it is for only a few hours.  I used to think nudists were crazy people.  But I have begun to understand in ways that are hard to understand.  And being a novelist, that was bound to creep into the piles of supposedly wise understanding that goes into the creation of novels.  I say “supposedly wise” because wisdom is simply the lipstick on the pig of ridiculous human experiences.

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The Cobble family appeared first in my novel, Superchicken.  It is a semi-autobiographical novel that uses some of my real life experiences and the real life experiences of boys I either grew up with or taught, mixed in with bizarre fantasy adventures that came from my perceptions of life as an adult.  So the Cobble family really represent my encounters with nudism and the semi-sane people known as nudists.  Particularly important to the story are the Cobble Sisters, twins Sherry and Shelly, who fully embrace the idea of being nudists and try to get other characters to not only approve of the behavior, but share in it.  Sherry is the more forward of the two, more willing to be seen naked by the boys in her school and in her little Iowa farm town.  Shelly is the quieter of the two, a bit more shy and a lot more focused on the love of one particular boy.

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In fact, the Cobble Sisters are based on real life twin blond girls from my recollections of the past.  The Cobble farm is out along the Iowa River and just north of Highway Three in Iowa.  It is a real place where real twin girls lived when I was a boy.  They were blond and pretty and outgoing.  But they were not actually nudists.  There was another pair of twin blond girls from my first two years of teaching who actually provided the somewhat aggressively sensual personalities of the Cobble Sisters.  The real nudists I knew were mostly in Texas.

The sisters appear in more than one of the novels I have written or am in the process of writing.  They appear for the second time in the novel Recipes for Gingerbread Children which I finished writing in 2016.  They are also a part of the novel I am working on now, The Baby Werewolf.   That last is probably the main reason they are on my mind this morning.  Writing a humorous horror story about werewolves, nudists, pornographers, and real wolves is a lot more complex and difficult than it sounds.  But it is hopefully doable.  And my nudist characters are all basically representative of the idea that all honest and straight-forward people are metaphorically naked all the time.  That’s the thing about those nudist twins.  They don’t hide anything.  Not their most private bits, and certainly not what they are thinking at any given time.

So as I continue to struggle with revealing myself as a writer… and possibly as a nudist as well, I will count on the Cobble Sisters to make certain important points about life and love and laughter… and how you can have all three while walking around naked.

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Filed under doll collecting, foolishness, horror writing, humor, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Toys From My Second Childhood

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Being retired for health reasons and unable to work, I would be dead already without my writing and art endeavors to fill my time and keep me sane.  I can do some work, as proven by my attempts to patch and repair the swimming pool this summer.  But my limitations drive me crazy, as proven by the fact that I did about half of the work on the pool wearing only sunscreen and a hat.  My kids are not married yet, and two of them are still in high school, but they are not much interested in toys any more.  And I don’t yet have grandkids to spoil.  So when I go the Resale Store or Goodwill to shop for old toys, I am basically buying them for myself.

The Princess of the Korean Court Barbie was lying on the bargain shelf for $3.49.  I bought the ceramic wishing well behind her for $5.00.  So the bargain-hunting gene I inherited from Scotch ancestors was duly satisfied.  But I had to do more with things like these than merely own them.  Toys are for playing. And what does a 60-year-old man do with dolls when he is playing?  Besides being a bit creepy, I mean?  Well, this photo is the answer.  I use my toys to create pictures and artwork.

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Here’s a creation using the ceramic wishing well again.  It is apparently, on closer inspection, actually a candle holder.  But it serves to make my Walmart Clearance Sale Disney toys happy.  Here you see the pony-brushing party held by Minnie Mouse with Daisy Duck and the gay snowman from Frozen.

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Here you see the metal miniatures I got in a pack from Walmart as they visit the cardboard castle.  Two of the lead figures on the ground are hand painted by me in days long ago.  The entire cardboard castle was printed and glued on cardboard, cut out and put together entirely by me.  Mickey, Minnie, Alice, Stitch, and Kermit are the metal miniatures not painted by me.

So, my days have not been overwhelmed by boredom and frustration and problems with city pool inspectors (he doesn’t even know about doing the repair work in the nude, so he can’t give me a ticket for that.)  I have been filling my time with toys and creative play.  I have been mostly a good boy… err… old man.

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Filed under action figures, Barbie and Ken, doll collecting, foolishness, goofy thoughts, making cardboard castles, Mickey, photo paffoonies, playing with toys, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Ladybugs Conquer Cartoonland

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Yes, Mickey couldn’t help it.  The toys hit the shelves in Walmart.  He discovered the silly superhero junior highschool romance thing first on Pinterest, then on YouTube.  Miraculous, the Adventures of Ladybug and Cat Noir.   The silly thing is on Netflix now too.

So, why would a goofy old man like me be interested in a thing like this… a thing aimed at an audience of pre-teen girls?  That’s disturbingly creepy, isn’t it?

Well, I never claimed to be cool.  I was an English teacher for 31 years.  Cool was never an option.

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And I collect dolls… erm… action figures… uh… well, I might as well be honest.  I have more Barbies than G.I. Joes.  I have a hoarding disorder fixated on 12-inch dolls.  And when I saw this doll for less than 15 dollars at Walmart, I had to buy it.  And it has the other super hero, Cat Noir right beside it.  Both under 20 dollars so they fit under the 20 dollar limit.  And both together only cost 30 dollars, so it fits under the 50 dollar per month limit as well.  Those collecting rules are important in saving me from my own juvenile regressive self and helps me have enough money to buy food all month long.

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The people in the store don’t look at me funny.  I am not the only old man buying toys and dolls in Walmart.  I am just the only old man there not buying for his grandkids.  I don’t have any grandkids yet, and my own kids are definitely older than the toy-wanting stage.  The people would be far more disturbed if they knew I was now struggling with the question, “Do I preserve these dolls mint-in-box?  Or do I take them out and play with them?”  And if you have read any of my lunatic “he-plays-with-dolls” posts, you probably already know how that one will turn out.

People might also be deeply disturbed to know that I have already watched two episodes of Miraculous, and (shudder) liked them in spite of the moronic romance and love-triangle bull poop.  I can’t promise that I will not watch more and turn away from this new filthy habit.  The stories are stupid villain-of-the-week stuff.  But the CGI animation is brightly colored, smooth, and highly interesting… to the point that I and any available chimpanzees or monkeys will be enthralled with it.  Oh, and pre-teen girls too.  I won’t go into the connections between those things.

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I could probably spend a lot of words telling you more about how this cartoon is set in Paris, France, and how Marinette and Adrien, the secret identities of the two superheroes above, are both in love with each other, but don’t realize it because neither one knows the secret identity of the other.  But I won’t.  This post is not a review of the cartoon show.  This post is a goofy commentary celebrating the fact that I bought myself two more dolls, and now must somehow rationalize that weird, compulsive act.

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Filed under action figures, anime, cartoon review, cartoons, collecting, doll collecting, goofy thoughts, humor, toystore quests

Troll Time at the Local Doll House

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You know that old doll house that my wife rescued for me?  You don’t?  Well, about six or seven years ago she spotted it on the sidewalk with a pile of other trash waiting for the city garbage collectors.  She asked the homeowner about it.  It was a kit they had bought at Michael’s but never finished, so my wife immediately thought, “My goofy old husband collects dolls all the time, so he will love this.”

“Take it,” said the homeowner, “It’s a shame to have to throw it out.”

So she brought it home and gave it to me.  I of course, collect twelve inch dolls and action figures, none of which fit in a doll house of this particular scale.  So it had to sit practically empty for a space of about four years.  Then my daughter got tired of some of the small Happy Meal dolls that she had gotten from McDonald’s when she was a wee gamin.  (Yes, that’s a real thing… you can look it up.)  I acquired two mostly naked Mini-Barbies, and four other doll-house size dolls, two baseball players and a Lullaby League Girl from Oz, along with a small Winkie Soldier.  Then Dreamworks did the Trolls movie.

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They began moving in by two different routes, these trolls.  Teacher Troll and Baby Troll and Big Troll, whose hair in the back is the only visible part of him… or possibly her, moved in from where I found them in kids’ bedrooms and the garage while cleaning.  I used to keep a stash of them to give out as classroom prizes back in the 90’s.  I bought the movie Trolls from Walmart at $5 a shot over a bunch of weeks between Thanksgiving and last weekend.  The empty spaces where I didn’t even have appropriate doll furniture were now being filled by Trolls.

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In the downstairs bedroom you can see the little yellow Troll has joined Naked Mini-Barbie, the Lullaby-Leaguer, Ceramic Book-Lovin’ Bear and the Angel who used to hold my wedding ring.  (I could never wear it due to arthritis, and it eventually got lost in the move from South Texas to Dallas.)  (Yes, I know it is not a good thing to lose your wedding ring, but it is possible my wife sold it so she could shop for a better husband.  At least, that’s what she told me while she was really angry.)  (And yes, I know I’m supposed to be talking about Trolls taking over my doll house, but I actually like bird-walking while telling such stories.  It lends such every-day Mickey-ness to the story.)

c360_2017-02-24-13-18-52-533The baseball player in the upstairs sitting room where nobody sits, once spent an entire winter at the bottom of the swimming pool.  That’s why his blue uniform turned a bit putrid green.  He stays in this room with my Wish-nik Troll from 1967 and the Winkie Soldier from Oz, who is naturally green in the face and never took a swim.

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Also upstairs are my Troll-topped Pez dispensers, two more movie Trolls, and the former Teacher Troll who lost her apple and my daughter gave a modelling clay diaper to for modesty’s sake which has long since melted a bit (the diaper, not the modesty).

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And at the top of it all, in the attic, are the two movie Trolls that I bought first and started this whole Troll-collection nonsense.  So now the doll house is no longer empty.  But the Trolls are beginning to complain that there is no paint on the walls, and I really ought to do something about that before they take matters into their own hands.  You never know what they might do in the middle of the night when nobody is looking.

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The Doofy Doll Collector

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I suppose it is a rather girly thing… or maybe even a creepy thing, that a sixty year old man like me collects and plays with dolls.  This post, a lazy-writer short post, is intended just to show you some of my newest dolls and newest collections.  I am not going to waste time justifying why I like dolls.  That would probably require an advanced degree in abnormal psychology.  So I will just show you and gloat about what I have achieved in my own weird little way.

This Monster High doll is Frankie Stein, the daughter of Frankenstein’s monster.  I scored two of these at Walmart’s pre-Christmas clearance sale for three dollars apiece.  This is the one I pose and play with.  The other I am keeping as a mint in box.

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These are the three lovely girls I bought with Christmas money from relatives back in Iowa.  I went almost to the limit buying Starfire at a pricey $19.88.  The collection rules clearly state, “Never buy a single doll worth more than $20.”

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I bought Starfire to keep Harley Quinn, my other $19.88 doll company as part of my DC Heroines collection.  That collection as it now stands follows.

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You can see I still need Batgirl and Poison Ivy.

So there is my lazy-writer post about me playing with dolls, poorly rationalized and barely explained.

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Betsy De Vos and the Golliwogs of Education

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I have often said that I don’t really approve of insult humor.  I don’t think calling someone names really adds to the discussion in any useful way, and the real point of humor is to reveal the truth in a way that is palatable because it is surprising enough to make you laugh.  Revealed truth is much funnier than calling someone names.  So when I call Donald Trump the king of rotten cantaloupe rinds, I am really being no more clever than he is talking about Lyin’ Ted or Crooked Hillary.

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Three of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, (from left to right) Famine, Cinnamon Hitler, and the Pale Rider, Death.

So, what in the heck am I doing talking about Golliwogs in this post?

A Golliwog is a Raggedy Ann-type rag doll from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  They were a common doll type for typical little white girls in typical little middle class families.  My Aunt Jean, my father’s sister, had one as a child.  A female one with a red dress with black spots.  You could flip that doll over and underneath her skirt was a different doll, a yellow-haired white girl in a blue and black dress.  The image has become poison in modern culture because the blackface-minstrel roots of the character is now deemed racist and offensive. The Golliwogs in the children’s books of Florence Upton and Grid Blyton, though, were actually quite heroic, good-hearted and kind.

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As much as we vilify people for having them nowadays, there are many people who secretly adore them and wish to collect and preserve them.  I have long been enthralled by the brilliant 1920’s newspaper cartoon, Little Nemo in Slumberland by Windsor McKay.  But there are many who would lecture me sternly about that because there is at least one Golliwog character in the cartoon strip, and it is even debatable that the main character of Flip, the “bad kid”, is just another kind of Golliwog.

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Now, the point of this article is to make relentless fun of Betsy De Vos, the harpy that Donald Trump has put in charge of the implosion of the Department of Education.  There are a number of very bad things about this wicked witch and her policies.  Diane Ravitch does an excellent job of explaining what’s wrong with De Vos and her wicked witch plans in Ravitch’s education blog, linked here.  You should read all about it so you know why I am regressing into vacant-headed teacher burblings about her, and resorting to the kind of insult humor you find me committing in this blog post.

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Betsy De Vos looks at public school children and sees Golliwogs.  She is suspicious of their pedigree and basically doesn’t like them.  Remember, we are talking about public school children, not the children in upper class, rich private schools, the only kind De Vos actually touts.  She wants to give Golliwogs only the minimums absolutely necessary, the spoiled and the spilled milk.  The cream belongs to rich kids.  And she’s not prejudiced or racist, oh, no.  She sees poor white kids as just as golliwoggie as poor black kids, and she would have no problem pandering to Ben Carson’s kids.  Ben has lots of money.  He can be Sleepy McBoing-boing as much as he wants, and take off after phantom luggage whenever he wants, because money keeps you from being the detestable Golliwog.

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But the secret… the revealed truth is… Golliwogs are worth loving and educating.  Diversity and the resilience learned from hardship and poverty are priceless things, resources too rarely put to good use.  Most of the kids I truly loved as a teacher were Golliwogs.  Not just the chocolate-flavored ones, though those were very precious and precocious children, but also the vanilla-flavored ones, the caramel-flavored ones, the blueberry-flavored ones and the grape-flavored ones. (Okay, maybe they were only blue and purple in my crazy old head. And maybe I shouldn’t be making metaphors that suggest I am promoting eating school children.  That was Jonathan Swift’s thing.)  But Betsy De Vos and her boss, Donald Trump, will never understand that, and never see the true value in them.  If we are ever again going to have a fair and just system of education, we have to give value to the Golliwogs.

 

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