This AM Bulldog waved my SLUG at me with obvious relish, marking a watershed moment for all of us who cut our cool baby teeth on the Daddy-O of alternative tabloid journalism. Of course, by near the end of the 20th century, when the Village Voice got around to switching from pay newspaper to free newspaper distributed in street corner boxes, the whole free newspaper thing itself was going long in the tooth on a not-so-slow boat to China.
Guess I'll just have to re-read my bound back numbers of Great Speckled Bird.
Bulldog saw me coming on THIS ONE this morning.
"Ya know what they say about ordering fish on Monday...DON'T! sez Bulldog as he jabbed a Gotham SLUG in my hand before I got a good look at the head.
What's got into Bulldog I'm thinking? He's almost never this animated. And then I looked at the paper.
Oh Jeese. I didn't need this. I was all set to pitch Bulldog on getting his ham radio ticket and suddenly this Fake-aroony story has more legs than a silverfish in the New York papers. What next, the Times? The Journal? The Voice? My deepest fear is there'll be no peace until this alleged silverfish, this ham radio operator, whatever the hell he is, receives justice, if not in the courts, then in the mean streets. I'm telling you these old rags can be like dogs with bones. Crap shoot. Always the crap shoot.
Suddenly I'm thinking the only thing Bulldog wants to be less than a silverfish is a figure of front page fun. I'm thinking if the SLUG delivery guys from the city ever connected Bulldog Blogg with one of those drain monkeys, he'd never live it down. He'd quit the news business. But before he quit the business, he'd yank me outa my apartment by my collar and throw me off the Esopus Creek bridge, just before the waterfall and that would be name of that tune.
So it looks like I won't be pitching Bulldog ham radio anytime soon. Gotta play it by ear. Gotta believe this silverfish whistleblower thing will blow over like everything else, and ham radio will fall back into blissful oblivion. And that's when I'll hit him, at just the moment he needs a short wave radio in his life. Trust me, he's going downtown.
Big news morning, Another cute egg cup is throwing its weight around Brooklyn. How long has this been going on? Since the 80s? If the Dodgers stayed in town this would never happen today. I felt terrible when they left in the 50s, me, a little kid in Jersey. What did I care? I can't explain it, but I did. How could Dodgers just leave? Everything went kaflooey after that. The dam busted. Now it's with the cute egg cups. The french whisks. It's a shame. Thanks Dodgers. I hope you're satisfied.
We're got in big trouble with Bulldog for not picking up our Gotham SLUG tabloid back numbers. Seems our night owl work/sleep cycle got cycled through to a more conventional pattern, such that we missed his wee hour sales window repeatedly this past week and got a taste of normal life, such as it is in this Hudson River community.
Could diet play any role in this ongoing unpredictable pattern of dayshift/nightshift reversals? Our training table doesn't always include Sugar Pops and Ovaltine, but when it does, boy oh boy, nothing quite satisfies, at least in the moment, as these two classic American staples.
BTW, the Pops aren't sweeter and the taste is hardly new, yet their sandpaper texture still leaves the roof of your mouth roughed-up enough to absorb a whole can of shellac, if you were so inclined.
And the Ovaltine? It dissolves in cold milk much better than it used to and tastes a little better, which must mean more sugar. Thing is I miss the way grittier old time Ovaltine sunk to the bottom of your glass in a slurry, forcing one to dig it out with a spoon and chew up the granules, noisily, to the annoyance of everyone else at the dinner table.
And the Flameproof key? I dunno I just like the way it looks and thought it looked cool in the company a couple of my favorite foods.
Better set my alarm if I want to catch Bulldog and collect my Slug before he shuts downs at 5AM.
Rarther than just living vicariously through our daily Gotham SLUG tabloid, we took a break from from the old graphics workstation and took buses and trains to visit our Long Island brother this weekend. Great party for college-bound niece. Breezed trough the Big City to and from LI, hoofing the few blocks between Port Authority and Penn Station,
Old news I know, but I'll confirm the chorus that Slugtown reality doesn't seem half as yeasty as it used to be by gee. Walked by the low energy NY Times building, currently anchored by some tired-blooded latter day ZUMZUM eatery on street level, no Pinch or Punch or Pipperoo visibly tucking-in.. Unreliable witness here cuz I'm so seldom chez Times Squre, but all feeels pretty Post Mall Tron World Throwback. Trace levels of simulated tenderloin dosed out by the papers. No need to buy any rags cuz our SLUGS were waiting for us back in Saugerties, tucked out of harm's way beneath the counter of Bulldog's Partition Street kiosk, picked up this AM.
Ya know, I always thought there should be Manga-ish American ham radio comics, so much so I tried my hand at it, which is pretty funny unto itself, considering that Japanese graphic standards are so high anything I'd do would be laughable - on the other hand I thought, hey, mission accomplished!
There's a bunch of RadioLaf material over in Deep Dashtoons should you care to root around, so named after RadioLife, a very long-running Japanese electronics magazine, now out of print I believe that I think really captures the idea of radio and all its attendent manias as a way of living. There's a Japanese term, otaku somewhat related to that lifestyle, such that radio/electronics is a subset of a much larger social catagory of obsessive "outsider" hobbies that can have an unsavory connotation, but like so much Japanese pop and otherwise culture, it gets complicated.
There was a period in Japanese graphic arts at the end of the 19th, into the 20th century when native artists took great interest in Western styles and bent some of the forms to blend with what remained for my money, uniquely and wonderfully Japanese.
I own a killer book that covers an aspect of this period,
"Art of the Japanese Postcard" featuring work from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, known for its. Asian art collection. Hmmm. Postcards. QSL cards. There's something about that format I find very fetching, getting art off museum walls and into many hands in many lands. CLICK HERE for the book at Amazon.
So I figure its monkey business as usual to mash-it-up as usual, hence, RadioLaf.
And no, I don't speak or write Japanese, nothing I'm proud of, but I'm not above a variety of very imperfect cheats.
On Facebook, today I mentioned making comments on this blog, but thanks to an alert by a friend of the site, I see that I don't have the blog comment configured correctly yet. Will attend to this, but I can't right now. My apologies if you tried and were bounced. I was too when I tried. Oddly enough, my test comment was "This is an outrage!"
Yeah, we've been talking up a forthcoming Shackety-Yack episode featuring our resident Deep Thinker, the Prism of Ham Radio. It's delayed partly for technical reasons, but after reviewing what we have in the can, I think it could use some punch-up editorially as well.
See, the Prism eats, sleeps and breathes ham radio metaphysics, which is to say even on a particularly accesible day, just what the hell he's talking about can be a little elusive.
He made use of some imagery, or rather, tasked me to render that imagery, i.e., a vintage station wagon in vintage headphones, to illustrate the Phlogiston-like pervasiveness of ham radio in the universe. Yeah, right, huh?
Well, never mind Phlogiston, old school Aether, and all that etherial hoo-ha, it did strike me that no other icon of ham radio is so long-lived, and shows no sign of being obsoleted any time soon...at least in the sphere of visual reference.
Headphones mean ham radio.
I think. We live by these preconceptions, but I wondered if it's true? So I tried out this picture on my all-night news butcher Bulldog this morning when I picked up my Gotham Slug tabloid.
"So what's this mean to you? I" queried, slapping the print-out on his kiosk counter."
Bulldog shook his head and set to neating up his remaining stack of Slugs.
I've seen that shaken head before. It happens at hamfests, when certain hams, usually old guys, stop at my table, thumb through one my Dash! graphic memoirs, not cracking a smile, not saying a word, as if it's just another used PC keyboard, or bin of smoke-damaged, half-melted barrier strips. Their shaken heads seems to say they see this stuff all the time. Don't I have any scented candles? Sheesh. And off they shuffle.
So off I shuffled. If not headphones, than what else means ham radio?
You tell me.
I played a hunch this morning and damned if the nag didn't pay off.
After I picked up my paper from Bulldog, I asked if he ever heard of a dream book for distance fiends - ham radio DXers, short wave listeners, shadowy figures who take their chances with the Kennelly-Heaviside layer and parlay long days and nights by their radios into walls papered with exotic QSL cards.
Like, I figured he probably sold old school gamblers' dream books down in the city, along with a few choice under the counter blunts and whatnot, so maybe he trafficked in such off-grid trade.
Well, Bulldog said nothing and broke no stride. Reaching into his kiosk, he pulled this out and handed it to me with a wink.
I figured as much, but not that much.
Played it cool, tipped my FAP cap in thanks and sauntered off, wondering if Bulldog, of all Runyoneques, could be mixed up with short wave radio, and possibly, just possibly, be a distance fiendish ham.
BTW, that expression, distance fiend, comes from a squib of humorous verse published by the New Yorker magazine in 1925, when radio was the vogue and such enthusiasms were far less deplorable. Sounds like more of my usual horsehockey, I know, but sorry Elroy, it's true.
The Prism of Ham Radio is our resident Deep Thinker, and we're in the process of finishing up his first Shackety-Yak commentary, coming soon in Funnies & Fun. After an all-night session bouncing between Photoshop, Final Cut Express and our proprietary Clutch Cargo animation suite , The Prism and I are taking a breakfast break for some scrambled eggs and strong coffee to fortify us in the stretch.
Too late now for Bulldog. He's gone at first light. If we miss a night, he'll save our paper, but that's the limit. That's OK, I'll catch him tonight. I got a Dream Book to pick with that joker.
This morning I found Bulldog's mood significantly elevated.
New York City's all-but-done-deal Hat Tax was interdicted thanks to a last minute parliamentary maneuver by a coalition of citzens' groups. The maneuver involved the clandestine placement of novelty shrunken heads on the pillows of City Tax Committee members, accompanied by a note, scrawled in red ink with only the phrase "NOT FOR NOTHIN."
The solons immediately responded with a statement vowing they would "not be bullied," and in further clarification, declared that the great big misunderstanding was the result of a typo in the paperwork, which was supposed to read either cat tax, rat tax, or hat tax credit. A City Tax Committee member who spoke on the condition of anonimity emphasized the confusion wasn't his fault.
Well how about that. While he no longer pays city taxes, Bulldog's feeling of fiscal violation yet dogs him. Thus for Bulldog, news like this is on par with the The Fap sweeping the series or discovering a fify dollar bill at the bottom of his Nedicks' Orange extra large.
As he handed us our perfectly folded morning SLUG, our giddy all-night news butcher tossed in a Lil' Conqueroo Numbers Dream Book and instructed us to "Get lucky."
This wasn't yet the time to talk to Bulldog abut getting his ham radio license. No. I sensed the moment was close, but no White Owl.
Nevertheless, that Dream Book, now THAT set me thinking....
After I picked up my usual folded copy of the Gotham SLUG, I sat for awhile on the opposite corner by the bookstore and sketched Bulldog at work. He's not one for sitting down, despite the lack of traffic in Saugerties in the wee hours. He ignored me,. After so many years in the city, he doesn't pay anybody much mind unless they're brandishing a blade or poking his belly with a heater, unwise in either case, according to Bulldog.
Thanks for all your encouraging words about our new site. Really does give me a boost to hear from so many pals old and new!
Two new commissions now on the drawing board are flight-related, - one for a beekeeper, and another for a former F-16 fighter pilot, so it's up in the air for this Junior Birdman.
Sheesh, where's WEEGEE when ya need him?
We'll be checking-in with Bulldog Blogg most daybreaks before we konk out. He sets up his kiosk here in Saugerties, NY about 1am on the corner of Partition and Main and does his Edward Hopper Nighthawk thing seven days a week until the tweety birds start chirping, which bugs the hell out of Bulldog.
We plan some more studies of this latter-day Runyonesque character, so if you got a soft spot for gruff old news butchers and their loudmouth tabloid stock and trade, drop by for a newsy kick in head with your morning java. Dollars to donuts he'll have a Gotham SLUG tucked away just for you, all folded up nice with that old school news butcher origami that that's always a pleasure to crack open, no matter how bad the news inside.
Very likely they don't hawk the SLUG in your neck of the woods, unless maybe in a not-too-snooty cigar store free of pony-tailed geezers in 500 dollar bush hats. Please, huh? Anyway, think of the Gotham SLUG as Police Gazette with an International Desk that covers out to Far Rockaway, and maybe farther if one of their track bum reporters stumbles across a passport that fell off a truck and doesn't sell it to Pick Six.
So that's it. Trigger pulled, took our best shot. Top of the World, Ma.
Well, the lot of us are out there.
Not all our pals are hams, but plenty are, making and selling ham and SWL stuff and generating internet content besides RF and reception reports. We're all trying to make our indy ways in a great big weird world. Regardless of hobby, by golly I've enjoyed their support, so here's to them all – hams. SWLs, animators, cartoonists, editors and normal folk alike.
Last night was housekeeping, biz and reality-based. A little more work on the new site and then lights out. When I dropped by Bulldog's kiosk earlier this AM he was more sullen than usual, handing me my paper and muttering about New York City's proposed Hat Tax. Always something down there. Bad Fish. Hat Taxes. Criminy! Up here in Saugerties, we're fairly insulated from all that Greater Gotham hocus-pocus from Ho-Ho-Kus. Here it's Painted Ponies, really! Have to get you pix.
No need to pay Earl Schieb 99 dollars to paint any Bulldog when you have Photoshop. Results in the avatar window. Got industrious and gussied up the whole Bulldog scene and will show it off when the site opens. Still running on the Hydrazine of all-night coffee, so guess we'll pick up some groceries before lights out.
Lot done tonight!
Long night transferring QSL portfolio graphics to the new site. More than copy and paste cuz resizing's involved, plus I discovered I was not so far up the Squarespace learning curve and had to start over (!) after moving my whole catalog last week. Ah me, so now it's 1/3 done right.
Nothing's gonna disappear at www.dasthoons.com any time soon, so anything related to our graphics services can be reference there as well, and the contact info remains the same for now.
Heck YES! we're taking orders for new work, trying to keep what's on the books moving along AND tying up the very last loose ends on the new site. Exhausting, but busy is good, so away we go.
Gonna unwind now by, uh, by working more on ol' Bulldog and see about inking him out and slapping some color upside his head.
Traditionally, bulldog editions were pre-emptive first strikes in the daily war for newspaper readership, hitting the streets sometimes the night before to get the jump on the competition.
Since Dash! and I are a couple of all-night workers, and frankly, because we're a couple of all-day suckers for long-in-the-tooth slang like "bulldog edition," we thought it would be diverting to Damon Runyon-up this feed in the spirit of Edward Hopper's black-coffee fueled "Nighthawks" painting, and all that sort of Film Noir wee-hours saxophony of the soul.
So before we hit the hay each morning, we'll duck out and check-in with Bulldog Blogg, our new favorite news butcher before the Saugerties sidewalks are chockablock with hopped-up homeward-bound jazz musicians.
Yeah,he looks mean, but Bulldog is an old softy. He tucks away a fresh copy of our fave rag rushed up the Hudson River because some of us still prefer hard copy from Aqueduct and Hialeah to precious pixels on the walls of OTB.