You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Sunday, November 3, 2013


1) Tawara Toda protecting the dragon's daughter from a millipede.

2) Suma Urabe Suetaka meeting a ghost with an infant.

3) The greedy lady opens a heavy box filled with demons.

4) The cat-ogre Shutendoji surrounded by women.

5) Minamoto Raiko Ason watching a spider.

6) Jiriaya riding a toad.

7) Nikki Danjo Noonori changing into a rat.

8) Shizunome Ohyaku haunted by hungry ghosts.

9) Takagi Umanosuki and a huge she-ghost.

10) "Holiday in Hell"

11) Ranmaru and the walking Sago palm

12) The old witch flies away clutching her arm, severed by Watanabe no Tsuna

13) Sanekata envies the freedom of birds

14) A good woman's ghost praying in a waterfall

15) Kiyomori sees hundreds of skulls at Fukuhara

Captions selected from Demons from the Haunted World
Supernatural art by Yoshitoshi
Edited by Jack Hunter
Shinbaku Books, 2012

Sunday, September 15, 2013


On a recent visit to my primary care physician, we had gone over the usuals and gotten to that moment in the appointment when he asks, "Is there anything else?"

There was in fact. Although I am in what I prefer to think of as my late middle years, I can still have the complexion of an emotionally distraught fourteen-year-old. There had been several recent outbreaks, and I was at the tail end of one now. My doctor and I agreed that it could be rosacea, since I had a history of that a decade or more ago. It was mild and he saw no reason to send me to a dermatologist since he could prescribe what they almost would certainly prescribe themselves. If the problem persisted -- you know the drill.

He said that he would write me a prescription for metronidazole, but that he was going to give me the .75% solution rather than the .1% solution officially formulated for rosacea. He said the difference was insignificant, and that the .75% solution was a fraction of the cost. There was just one thing.

He did not want me to be concerned that the box would be labeled "For intravaginal use only. (Not for ophthalmic, dermal, or oral use.)" He said to simply rub a little on my face at bedtime and wash it off in the morning.

When I went to fill the prescription I remembered once being prescribed the children's version of an antacid, again for the considerable savings in price. (Since all these things cost me the same through my prescription program, it is merely a courtesy to my insurer.) I had a problem with the antacid because it was not "age appropriate." After a half hour of phone calls to the doctor and the insurers, I got my orange-flavored soluble tablets. They seemed to do the job well, but as I turned in this new prescription I wondered what questions it might raise. I was filled within minutes.

Yes, I am now using a vaginal gel, applying it directly to my face despite the dire warnings to the contrary that cover the box and the densely worded instruction booklet. Things are going well and there are no side effects.

I don't know the etiquette here, but I do have available a set of five factory-sealed applicators. I have not come up with a use for them, although I have not given it much thought.

For other "disturbing" posts follow the "disturbing" label.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


 1) HIGHLY ACCELERATED LIGHT WAVES -- chosen method for interplanetary travel by the Super Wizard Stardust

2) ANTI-GRAVITY RAY - self explanatory

3) ATOM SMASHER WITH LONG-RANGE AUTOMATED FINDER -- scary sounding weapon that doesn't work because Stardust unleashes his ---

4) BOOMERANG RAY -- capable or reverse the direction of any other ray
Stardust's sense of justice has a Dantesque quality

5) MAGNETIC RAY -- can attract people as well as metals

6) SUSPENDING RAY -- prevents anything caught by magnetic rays from falling to the ground once magnetic ray is turned off

6) SECRET RAY -- possibly has multiple functions, but Stardust uses it to materialize the skeletons of criminals' victims (scary)

7) JU-JU DRUM -- drum with hypnotic powers used by Org to control giant, flesh-eating spiders

8) SUPER SUPERIORITY BEAM -- used by Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle, to defeat Org
When Fantomah gets angry she gets ugly

9) SUPER INTERPLANETARY TELEVISION SET -- used by Stardust when spying on criminal activity anywhere in the universe -- comes equipped with a Thought Recorder

10) PANORAMIC CONCENTRATION UNIT -- somehow different the Super Interplanetary Television set (see #9 above)

11) FUSING RAYS -- turns airplanes into blobs of steel

12) CONCENTRATED THOUGHT WAVES -- allow Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle, to fly (similar to Highly Accelerated Light Waves, see # 1 above.)

13) SIMPLIFIED TELEVISION UNIT -- a handheld version of the Super Interplanetary Television Set (See # 9 above)

14) POWERFUL RAY -- undefined weapon; very powerful

15) DISINTEGRATING RAY -- self-explanatory

16) ANTI-SOLAR RAY -- capable of stopping the earth's rotation, thus destroying gravity

Anti-solar ray in action

17) HYDRAULIC BALANCE RAY -- used to keep water on the planet after Anti-Solar ray is deployed ( see # 16 above)

18) ATTRACTOR BEAMS -- used by Stardust to retrieve humans floating away from earth after deployment of anti-solar ray (see # 16 above)

19) THE CONCENTRATOR -- allows Stardust to combine many men into one man

All images and rays are from the comics of Fletcher Hanks, published in the late 1930's and early 1940's, anthologized in I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets, edited by Paul Karasik. (Fantographics Books, 2007. You can read my review of I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets here)