Thursday, June 21, 2012


[Albie's Note]-- All of these books were checked out by me from my local Public Library [Sierra Vista, AZ] and they serve to illustrate just how marvelous a resource your nearby publicly funded Book Depository can be nowadays! 

We live in interesting times, my friends...

1) THE PLOT by Will Eisner

This I found in my library's constantly expanding "graphic novels" section.  There, amid all the worthless anime and super-hero retreads, a patron can sometimes find real gold. This was a good example.

Eisner, a true golden-age comics legend and creator of The Spirit, finished THE PLOT just before his death in  2005 at the age of 87.   In it, he traces the history of the notorious anti-semitic forgery called The Protocols Of the Elders of Zion.  The author carefully gives the full history, in cartoon form, of how an obscure 19th century French satire-- which had nothing to do with Jews at all-- was transformed by some later venomous Russians into the notorious libel against worldwide Jewry that appears in English-- even today-- as The Protocols.   Frankly, it takes some stamina to even get through it all [which made me actually thankful it was written in comic book form.]   Anti-semitism-- which I truly believe is a uniquely Satanic hatred in its ultimate origin--  is perhaps a particularly strong preoccupation of mine, so I read this immediately.  It is basically a well-done, sequentially-related history that makes a dreary but important subject almost palatable.

I Praise God this one was even in my public library.  I pray it reaches many hands and that they never toss it out!

2) SERIOUSLY FUNNY: THE REBEL COMEDIANS OF 1950s AND 1960s by Gerald Nachman

This book clocks in at 659 informative pages but it reads so quickly you'd never dream it. Nachman gives surprisingly thorough profiles of 26 seminal "New Wave" stand-up comedians who essentially comprised a "revolution" in making Americans laugh.  The profiles were fascinatingly dense with information, and the stories of some of these folks were really compelling. There are plenty of entertaining backstage anecdotes (Sid Caesar throwing a lit cigar at his brilliant young writer Mel Brooks; Bill Cosby punching out self-righteous lefty Tommy Smothers) and a surprising amount of "darker side" tales... and not just the expected ones about Lenny Bruce or Ernie Kovaks, but even startlers about  seemingly "average Joe" funny men like Mort Sahl and Jonathan Winters. Some of these funny folks had heavy depression riding them like a monkey! Often, the private lives of the laugh-givers were far less amusing than their stage acts. 

[By the way... If you're interested in researching the now-legendary Bruce, the 40-plus page treatment here is, I believe, as good as it gets, and will save you the trouble I took years ago of slaving through Albert Goldman's ponderous and pretentious biographical tome.  The bare truth seems to be that Bruce, for all his brilliance, was basically a funny yet tremendously flawed and self-important whack-job, which Nachman conveys vividly... and fairly.]

My favorite profiles were the ones about Jean Shepherd, Bob and Ray, and Bob Newhart, but there really wasn't a bad chapter here.  I only wish Nachman had given some space to the great Soupy Sales, who surely earned some kind of tribute here for taking much of this same "New Wave" sensibility into the oddest place of all: children's television

Still, for anyone with interest in the mechanics of making people laugh, this book is a must.


As the last selection may indicate, I absolutely love to laugh!  Life's troubles-- including the heartbreaks of divorce and loss of loved ones-- have only made me more manic in my constant search of things to amuse and tickle me.  Because of this ongoing quest I am always picking up books by stand-up comics with high hopes.  Usually, for some reason, these books are way less funny than you would expect.  Search me as to why it's so, but it is. 

This book was the glorious exception.  I have always liked Poundstone to begin with, so I dove into this strange memoir with cautious but high hopes.  I was NOT disappointed. 

Did I say strange? Paula decides, for no apparent reason, to relate her own rather-less-than-inspiring life story with  inter-woven true facts from the lives of world-renowned historical figures like Joan Of Arc, Abe Lincoln, and Ludwig Van Beethoven.  It makes no sense at all, but i am glad she used this approach, because it is absolutely hilarious!  In fact, I think this may be the single best "laugh out loud" comedy book I have found.   Someone has said-- and rightly I reckon-- that the very best humor is always self-deprecating, and believe you me,  Poundstone has taken self-deprecation further than any humorist I have ever encountered!  Possibly this was the only approach she could think of after her highly publicized arrest for driving kids around drunk, but the result is a real treasure.  I could offer all kinds of examples of her wry self-abuse here, but take this favorite comment from early in the book as a classic sample: "The judge said I was the best probationer he ever had. Talk about proud."

Thanks, Paula. I needed this book.


OK, more silly comic book stuff... but bear with me.  My daughter Haddie found this one at the library and said to me: "Dad, I really think you'll like this.  It's your kind of humor."  This turned out to be true, and according to some reviewers online that fact makes me a real idiot.   Of course, I am OK with that... after all, Momma said it takes all kinds of people to make a world. :)

I think the big objection of some people is that this comes off like a kids' book but it is full of anti-social behaviour, mainly from a gun-packing crow named Jeremy.  One reviewer says its great, but not for kids.  I, on the other hand, have read it aloud to my kids several times.  OOPS!

It's hard to explain it, but basically it details the adventures of sweet but delusional cat [Peanut Butter] who is befriended [well, maybe that's the wrong word] by Jeremy, the selfish crow who hangs out outside her window.    To tell you more would just confuse you and possibly spoil it as well.  You just kinda have to read it.

5) BRANDED FOR CHRIST by Eschol Cosby

Well... if you know me, you probably knew I'd have a Western, or a Christian Life Story, or some kinda book about Arizona somewhere on this  list.  

This little [110 brief pages] memoir from Cochise County cowboy preacher Eschol Cosby [who went to Heaven in 2008 at the ripe old age of 97] manages to cover all 3 categories!

I wish it was longer and more detailed, but at the same time I am thankful he managed to write this at all.  As a boy, I actually saw Eschol and his "family band" a couple times performing at my tiny home church in Sonoita AZ back in the 1970s, so this book had much more than just a passing interest for me.  Eschol tells some great stories, from his conversion as a child at a Texas camp meeting to his World War 2 experiences and finally his planting of a long-renowned Baptist Church in Pearce Az, which he would pastor for over 40 years. Eschol relates his life story like some old cowboy talking to the reader over tin cans of coffee by a campfire. 

Definitely time well spent.

Thank God for Libraries!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Here's a classic DELL Comics "info-page" from Sam Glanzman's legendary/infamous/classic KONA, Monarch of Monster Isle series.  This one is an attempt to impart biblical knowledge, and re-tells the events of Genesis chapter 11. 

Dig Glanzman's cool text and graphics:

This was the inside back cover of KONA #6, originally published back in the Year Of Our Lord 1963 [one year before ol' Albie's birth.]

The caption reads in full:

Everybody knows that the biblical flood was the DECREE exerted on a world sunk in DISHONOR and WRONGDOING. In fact, LEGENDS the world over, whether they tell the story of a FLOOD, or of a SUNKEN CONTINENT buried under like WATERS OF PUNISHMENT…All agree however that the inhabitants of the PLACE subject to these punishings…were usually of a SUPER or ADVANCED MENTALITY, like the builders of THE TOWER OF BABEL (the tower that was intended to reach up to the very ‘gates of heaven’), their EVIL was said to derive from the DELUSIONS OF GREATNESS their super-mentality engendered. These delusions, according to legend, concluded in that final and super delusion that their INTELLIGENCE made them THE EQUALS OF THE GODS. As ‘equals’ they naturally tried to storm the ‘dwellings of the gods’. The drowning WATERS OF PUNISHMENT was the method the gods used to ‘push the invaders down to DEPTHS even lower than those originally inhabited.’

Here are a few other artist's renderings of the events of Genesis 11:





And. of course, here is the original story, as translated by the KING JAMES scholars:
Beware of "ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT" movements, eh?


Monday, June 11, 2012

The "Christian Prince Valiant": TULLUS rides in "The Chariot Race"

When I was a rural lad back in the 1970s, attending my family's local Baptist Church "every time the doors opened" [as went the favorite expression of the devout, like my parents],  I used to love and save the weekly handout given to us children called simply "PIX Magazine."  It was a little digest mag, I think about 8-12 pages long, published by the David C. Cook House in Chicago

Typically it would have a print story, a puzzle or other activity page, a Bible story in comic form, and-- my favorite part--  an installment of a serial featuring a first century teen-aged Christian name TULLUS.

I was so taken by the adventures of Tullus [kind of a Christian answer to period adventure comic strips like, say, PRINCE VALIANT] that my mother bought me the 4 volume paperback reprint edition [pictured above] as a Christmas gift.  I reckon this was in the Yule of 1975 [I was then 11 years of age.]

Believe it or not, I still have these books!  The 4 of them, in their badly scuffed cardboard slipcase, are actually on the bookshelf in the master bedroom as I write this.

An internet search of Tullus-related pages revealed that the character was actually created at the Cook House by one Joseph Hughes Newton way back in the wartime year of 1943!  Apparently the comics I read were actaully a revival of the popular character.  In fact, one site comments that these later comics, although admittedly well-written and well-drawn, are actually considered inferior to the "old" Tulluses, which are today highly prized by serious Christian collectors. For one thing, these earlier adventures were never collected in book form, and most kids tossed the Sunday handouts after they read them. 

I had NO idea!

That was certainly intesting!  maybe one day some enterprizing soul will give these early comics the graphic treatment... but considering how small that "niche" must be, that hope is a real dream, to be sure.

Until that day comes the later Tullus yarns of my boyhood are fairly easy to obtain in the black and white paperbacks shown above.  [I should note that TULLUS was indeed printed in vibrant color in the original hand-outs.]

Anyway... here is a pretty cool adventure that illustrates well the elements that formed the appeal of young TULLUS: Good clean storytelling, a fairly intelligent sense of period,  and lots of  [never-violent] action...

Enjoy, if you like.

Also, here's a couple of the DELL-style info pages that were common in-between story arcs in the original magazine:


Saturday, June 9, 2012


OK... so every summmer my kids are gone [basically the even numbered years] I immerse myself in one book of the BIBLE.  By "immerse," I mean that I read the Bible Book in question several times [in the old King James, o'course] and augment that reading with "sound" commentaries  and devotional readings from various periods of Christian History.

In 2008 it was the The Book Of Job, [WOW] and in 2010 it was Proverbs. 

These were some really rewarding studies, mind you, so when I said "So long" to my kids for the 2012 summer, I found I could hardly wait to begin my study of yet another "OT Wisdom" book:  The amazing Book of ECCLESIASTES!

ECCLESIASTES, it turns out, is one of the more "controversial" books in all of our Biblical "Canon."

One old commentator says that this book "is as close as Our Bible ever comes to a discussion of True Philosophy"... while no less a "fundamental" heavy-weight than old C. I. Scofield warns that:

“The student should notice that it is not at all the will of God which is developed, but that of man ‘under the sun’ forming his own code. It is, therefore, as idle to quote such passages as ii.24, iii.22, etc., as expressions of the divine will as it would be to apply Job ii.4, 5 or Gen. iii.4. The constant repetition of such expressions as ‘I perceived,’ ‘I said in my heart,’ ‘then I saw,’ etc., sufficiently indicate that here the Holy Spirit is showing us the workings of man’s own wisdom and his reaction in weariness and disgust.”

So I approach the book with this question  in mind:  Am I to constatntly relegate passages I don't understand to the junk heap of Scofield's "not-to be-taken-as-God's-words" rationalization, or do I simply read it and let God be my guide??

Something tells me the latter is always the safest path.

So, in any case... let the summer begin!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

AN INVALUABLE AMERICAN "ARTY-FACT": "The Soupy Sales Comic Book Magazine #1" [1965]

It's an unusual malady nowadays, but I suffer from being a huge fan of the late SOUPY SALES [January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009]

It's pretty hard to explain, actually...  I was born in 1964 in Arizona, when Soup was really at the height of his fame and influence, so I am not the usual "boomer" with childhood memories of legendary local B&W TV programs and anarchist kid show antics. 

Still, I AM old enough to remember his appearances on one of my all-time seminal fave TV shows-- the late and almost entirely forgotten  SHA NAH NAH-- as well as his later, one-season, syndicated color show from the KTLA studios circa 1979-80, and I can honestly say I count him a bizarre influence on all my life and thought [however frightening that may be in its myriad implications!]

Recently I [finally!] found my own copy of one of the strangest comic books ever published in the USA, the now-infamous ARCHIE Comics one-shot devoted to the man himself... first published in the Year Of Our Lord, 1965 A.D.!

Now mind you... I don't actually have the ability to scan this invaluable item, but other folks already applied that technoligy to a fair ammount of its images, so here is a decent sample of its legendary contents courtesy of the great ODDBALL COMICS website:

First, the front and back inside cover photos--

Next, the back cover... a pinup that tied SOUP into the Archie Universe once and for eternity--

And finally, for your cultural edification, a pretty darn random selection of some of the other vitally important pages--

And here, just so you can get the full impact of the comic, is SOUP himself  performing the actual hit record of "THE MOUSE" on the old teen music show HULLABALOO... this was, mind you,  an actual #76 nationwide pop hit in 1965:

OKAY... so he wasn't Shakespeare... or even LENNY BRUCE... but I'll be doggoned if that old hambone cut-up doesn't make me smile BIG every time I even get close to his legacy!

Love ya, SOUP!



From the book HUMILITY
by Andrew Murray [9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917]

In an address I recently heard, the speaker said that the blessings of the higher Christian life were often like the objects exposed in a shop window--one could see them clearly and yet could not reach them. If told to stretch out his hand and take, a man would answer, I cannot; there is a thick pane of plate glass between me and them.

Even so, Christians may see clearly the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, of overflowing love and joy, of abiding communion and fruitfulness, and yet feel that there was something between, hindering the true possession. What might that be? Nothing but pride!
The promises made to faith are so free and sure, the invitations and encouragements so strong, the mighty power of God on which it may count is so near and free--that it can only be something that hinders faith that hinders the blessing being ours. In the following text Jesus discovers to us that it is indeed pride that makes faith impossible:
"How can you believe, which receive glory from one another, and the glory that cometh from the only God you seek not?" (John 5:44).
"How can you believe, which receive glory from one another?" As we see how in their very nature pride and faith are irreconcilable, we shall learn that faith and humility are at root one. We never can have more of true faith than we have of true humility. We may have strong intellectual conviction and assurance of the truth while pride is kept in the heart, but pride makes the living faith which has power with God an impossibility.

We need only think for a moment what faith is. Is it not the confession of nothingness and helplessness, the surrender and the waiting to let God work? Is it not in itself the most humbling thing there can be--the acceptance of our place as dependents, who can claim or get or do nothing but what grace bestows?
Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. Even the most secret breathing of pride, in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation--is the strengthening of that self which cannot enter the kingdom or possess the things of the kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be there--the All in All.
Faith is the organ or sense for the perception and apprehension of the heavenly world and its blessings. Faith seeks the glory that comes from God, that only comes where God is All. As long as we take glory from one another, as long as ever we seek and love and jealously guard the glory of this life, the honor and reputation that comes from men, we do not seek and cannot receive the glory that comes from God. Pride renders faith impossible.
Salvation comes through a cross and a crucified Christ. Salvation is the fellowship with the crucified Christ in the spirit of His cross. Salvation is union with and delight in, salvation is participation in the humility of Jesus. Is it any wonder that our faith is so feeble when pride still reigns so much, and we have scarcely learned even to long or pray for humility as the most needful and blessed part of salvation.
Humility and faith are more nearly allied in Scripture than many know. See it in the life of Christ. There are two cases in which He spoke of a great faith. The centurion, at whose faith Jesus marvelled, saying, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel!" had spoken, "I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof." The mother to whom He spoke, "O woman, great is thy faith!" accepted the name of dog and said, "Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs."
It is the humility that brings a soul to be nothing before God that also removes every hindrance to faith, and makes it only fear lest it should dishonor Him by not trusting Him wholly.
Have we not here the cause of failure in the pursuit of holiness? Is it not this, though we knew it not, that made our consecration and our faith so superficial and so short-lived? We had no idea to what an extent pride and self were still secretly working within us, and that only God by His incoming and His mighty power could cast them out. We understood not how nothing but the new and divine nature, taking entirely the place of the old self, could make us really humble.
We knew not that absolute, unceasing, universal humility must be the root-disposition of every prayer and every approach to God as well as of every dealing with man. We might as well attempt to see without eyes, or live without breath, as believe or draw nigh to God or dwell in His love, without an all-pervading humility and lowliness of heart.
Have we not been making a mistake in taking so much trouble to believe, while all the time there was the old self in its pride seeking to possess itself of God's blessing and riches? No wonder we could not believe. Let us change our course. Let us seek first of all to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God: He will exalt us. The cross, and the death, and the grave into which Jesus humbled Himself, were His path to the glory of God. They are our path also. Let our one desire and our fervent prayer be to be humbled with Him and like Him. Let us accept gladly whatever can humble us before God or men. This alone is the path to the glory of God.
I have spoken of some who have blessed experiences, or are the means of bringing blessing to others, and yet are lacking in humility. You ask whether these do not prove that they have true, even strong faith, though they show too clearly that they still seek too much the honor that comes from men.
There is more than one answer can be given. But the principal answer in our present connection is this: They indeed have a measure of faith, in proportion to which, with the special gifts bestowed upon them, is the blessing they bring to others. But in that very blessing the work of their faith is hindered through the lack of humility. The blessing is often superficial or transitory, just because they are not the nothing that opens the way for God to be all.
A deeper humility would without doubt bring a deeper and fuller blessing. The Holy Spirit not only working in them as a Spirit of power but dwelling in them in the fullness of His grace and especially that of humility, would through them communicate Himself to these converts for a life of power and holiness and steadfastness now all too little seen.
"How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another?" Nothing can cure you of the desire of receiving glory from men, or of the sensitiveness and pain and anger which come when it is not given but giving yourself to seek only the glory that comes from God. Let the glory of the All-glorious God be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing.
Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God, and you will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill the every desire of your faith.