Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Phantom: The Unsung Inspiration of Modern Comics

Wanted to share a little comic book history

Ramblings Of A Comics Fan

First appearing in newspapers on February 17, 1936, the Phantom was the first character to wear the skintight costume worn by so many superheroes today. He was also the first character to wear a mask with no visible pupils. Creator Lee Falk explained  that Ancient Greek busts inspired the idea of the not showing the Phantom’s pupils when he was wearing his mask, incorrectly believing that  the busts displayed no pupils (in fact they did; originally the eyes would have been painted on, and over time the paint had faded) which he felt gave them an inhuman, awe-inspiring appearance. In an interview published in Comic Book Marketplace in 2005, Falk said the Phantom’s skin-tight costume was inspired by Robin Hood, who was shown wearing tights in films and on stage.

The Phantom has been staring in new stories since his first appearance in 1936, but not every Phantom story is about the same Phantom –…

View original post 312 more words

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Prospector

The wind whipped his beard and the blowing sand stung his sun and wind leathered face as he kneeled down and picked up the rock. He looked see if it had the right color, a trace of a vein, a fleck of gold, anything to give him hope. It of course had nothing, but he knew this area had already played out.

He stood up and looked towards the setting sun, figuring that this was as good a place as any to set up camp for the night. He didn’t see the beauty of the sunset now, as he did when he was younger. Numb to the bright red, pink, and orange hues that the desert sunset gave, it was just a sunset now. He took the rope to Joseph, his old mule and tied it to a thick Creosote Bush, then tied a feed bag with the last of the oats on to Joseph’s head. He was careful to take care of Joseph, the cantankerous old beast carried all his provisions, including his water. If Joseph wondered off or was injured, he might not make it out of the desert alive.

As he settled down for the night, eating some old jerky and drinking warm, stale water, he thought about the next town he could get supplies and news. He would be there by the end of the next day and would see if their were any new strikes in the area. He didn’t hold out much hope though, he hadn’t heard of any new strikes in years. The big companies owned all the mines now and most everyone he knew had died or gone off to some hospital in the Southern cities.

This was all he knew, all he knew how to be, and he would keep doing it until the buzzards took him.

As he settled in for the evening, a plane went screaming overhead disturbing his reflections. Joseph brayed and bucked, but soon settled back down in to his oats. Jets he thought, last time he had been in town he had seen one streak overhead and asked the woman at the store what it was. She said it was a new type of plane being tested at over at Muroc, it was called a Jet.

He remembered when the Corum family first settled that area, it had been big news when they had brought the post office in. He thought about times gone by as he drifted off and 60 years of prospecting the desert rolled through his brain as he slept.

Categories: History, Stories | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cars and Cats

I like cats. I like Cars. Cars and cats do not go together.

When I stay at my fiancée’s place, where I will soon be living, their is only a small carport to park under. This saddens me as my car is left out in the elements instead of covered by a garage. Then I think about my car in the elements all day at work and I give a small sigh of resignation and move on with my day.

However, this last six months or so cats in the neighborhood have taken to jumping on and off my car, peeing on the powder coated rims, peeing on the wheel wells, peeing on lower parts of the doors, etc. The effect of the cats jumping on my car; all kinds of pay prints and scratches in the clear coat and paint. At the same time, the ammonia in the urine eats up the paint on the body and powder coat on the rims. You can see spots on the rims clear coat that have been totally eaten away already. Not to mention the stench of cat pee around the car when you try and wash it.

I see various cats outside in the morning when I leave for work, so it is hard to pin point which cat is doing it. In fact, it could be more than one cat. I hear cat fights outside the window a lot. I could complain to the owners if I find out which cat(s) are doing it, but I have a feeling my complaints will fall of deaf ears.

Some of you are probably thinking, “get a car cover.” I could, but the car cover in itself is a problem. First, their is just the hassle of putting on and taking off a car cover every day, or multiple times a day. Plus, living in the desert, the dirt and dust that gets under car covers starts acting like sand paper every time the car cover moves. I would be trading cats for a sand paper equivalent. Not a good option.

This leaves me with three option categories:

1.) Extreme measures. Leave out bowels of anti freeze or just stalk them with my 22 rifle.

2.) Try and find some sort of deterrent. Spray, ultrasonic, etc.

3.) Trap them and take them to the pound.

Category one presents many problems: A fiancée/wife that would probably be beyond angry with me. Don’t want to be kicked out of the house weeks within getting married. Plus, can you imagine our little girls reaction when they find out dad is murdering cats? I shudder to think of the tears. There is always the possibility of fines and/or jail for animal cruelty too.

Category two seems like a viable solution. However, when I read the online reviews I can’t seem to find any that always work. Either some cat’s just aren’t affected by them, or the cats learn that the deterrents are more of an annoyance that can be overcome.

Category three would be pretty easy. The fiancée isn’t opposed to it provided that we give a warning to the cat owners first. She likes to play fair for some reason. I’m leaning towards this, but the pound may have issues with me coming in frequently with trapped cats, especially if they have identification of some sort.

Anyone out there face this issue? Anyone have any ideas?

Categories: animals, Cars | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Los Angeles, Owens Valley, and Water

My Maternal family came to the upper Mojave Desert in the 1950’s. During that time my grandfather started talking to the “old timers” as he called them. These were men and women that were in their 50’s -80’s back in the 1950’s. My grandfather tells one story in particular about a man who came to the Antelope Valley and Mojave area with his father when he was a young boy, sometime around the late 1890’s or 1900. The old man said that at the time this part of the Mojave Desert was a very different type of Desert, almost a grassland. There were still some antelope in the Antelope Valley (Lancaster/Palmdale area), and the area was lush with wildlife. The old man, as a boy, had to ride on a mule that his father led. His father wouldn’t let him walk across this high desert/grassland because their were so many rattlesnakes, it was dangerous. These days you have to try to find a snake.

When the Death Valley 49’ers eventually struggled out of Death Valley and Panamint Valley, they came to the Indian Wells Valley. The springs they found there, down along what is now Highway 14 and in to the Antelope Valley is what kept them alive long enough to reach Los Angeles. If you go out on remote parts of what is now Edwards Air Force Base you will find remnants of duck blinds, springs, and artesian wells. That area and in to the Antelope Valley was prime duck hunting through the 1920’s. The whole area had spread out farms and ranches that were irrigated with groundwater. Up through the late 1960′ and early 1970’s there was still just enough groundwater to have a large alfalfa ranch between Boron and California City.

What is now the upper Mojave Desert, from the Antelope Valley to Mojave, to Boron, North to around Ridgecrest, and even some ways east of Boron, wasn’t the desert we know today. Wondering what happened to it? What made it the way it is now? The easiest and most direct answer is this; Los Angeles.

LA was a small and dirty city at the turn of the last century, desperately in need of water. In contrast, the Owens Valley was a farming community and was becoming the fastest growing area in California. The Owens River flowed in to Owens Lake, which was 20 miles long, pretty darn wide, and had steam paddle boats that ferried people and mining products across. There were large farms and ranches in the area, all of which used irrigation farming, and wildlife, especially birds, were abundant. In 1904, two men, Fred Eaton and J.B. Lippincott traveled through the Owens Valley on a camping trip and marveled at the available water.  Fred Eaton was the former mayor of Los Angeles and had also worked as a supervisor for the water company. J.B. Lippincott worked for the Bureau of Reclamation, which was at the time looking at a public irrigation project in the Owens Valley which would have greatly helped out the farmers.

Eaton went back to LA and convinced William Mulholland, the head engineer for the water company, that the answer to LA’s water problem was the Owens Valley, over 250 miles away. Lippincott, working for the Bureau of Reclamation, went out and surveyed the Owens Valley, found out where the water flowed, how it flowed, how much of it their was, and where the key water rights and ranches were. Instead of giving this info to the Bureau, he gave it to Eaton and Mulholland. Eaton and other LA officials were able to pass a bond in LA to get enough cash to buy the key ranches to gain the water rights in the Owens Valley. In these days, news did not travel like it does now, and the Owens Valley had no clue LA was out for its water.

After the bond was passed,at the end of 1905, Eaton and Mulholland, using Eaton’s extensive political contacts, as well as dubious tactics such as bribery and deception, to acquire enough land and water rights in Owens Valley to block the irrigation project. Eaton posed as a rancher that was working for the Bureau of Reclamation. The Owens Valley thought that he was buying land for himself, to be a rancher, and buying land for the irrigation project. By the time they found out the truth, it was too late. by 1907 LA owned the key water rights and the irrigation project was blocked. At this point the rest of the water rights were obtained through bribery and coercion. In 1908 the LA aqueduct began to take life.

When the aqueduct was completed in 1913, the all of the water that had once flowed in to the lower Owens Valley, and Owens Lake, began to flow in to LA. A substantial portion of it was diverted in to the San Fernando Valley, a agricultural community that was not yet part of LA. It just so happens that all of the key players in the purchasing of water right in the Owens Valley and various high powered political and public figures had all recently purchased land in the SFV. The land values skyrocketed, surpassing the purchase prices.

After the aqueduct was completed in 1913, Lippincott immediately quit his job at the Bureau of Reclamation and went to work for the LA Water Department.

In the 1920s, the Owens Valley farmers that had not sold out were watching their farms drained of water, nearly every drop of which was pumped into the steadily growing San Fernando Valley. By the mid 1920’s the Owens Lake had become prematurely and totally dry. In 1924 and again in 1927, protesters blew up parts of the aqueduct. This period of time is known as the California Water Wars.

In the late 1930’s LA again needed more water, so the aqueduct was extended North through the rest of the Owens Valley, Long Valley, and in to the Mono Basin. It was completed by 1940.

It was also during this time that the Antelope Valley and the upper Mojave Desert started to become the desert that it is today. The Owens River and Owens Lake fed a multitude of underground rivers and streams and traveled many many miles South. When the river was diverted, and the lake dried up, the desert took on the form we know now.

What of the Owens Valley? With its giant lake drying up faster than nature intended, their was nothing to hold down the lake bottom and it became a giant unnatural salt flat. For many years it became the single worst source of dust pollution in the United States, it still may be. The wind will create alkali dust storms that that carry away as much as four million tons (3.6 million metric tons) of dust from the lakebed each year. The dust plumes can at times be seen from space, and will travel as far South as LA, can’t say I feel sorry for them though.

A decades long court battle ensued because of these dust storms, with the Owens Valley finally winning in the end. LA has to now put back just enough water to stop the dust storms and create some bird habitat.Not enough to restore Owens Valley. LA wasn’t exactly happy about having to give back water. Last year, they devised a way to till the land and cover it with giant dirt clods. In theory, the clods will hold the dust down and LA will only have to give 1/3  as much water as before. Only time will tell if this method actually works.

Today, NASA says that California only has one year left of water. It seems that in the end, LA raping the Owens Valley didn’t help it. Karma is coming, just too late to actually affect the men who legally stole the water in the first place.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: