"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)

"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
"John Scully's" comic strip that has a farewell every day (drawn and written by Ruben Bolling)
September 19 is the last post for this blog. Thanks to all my readers!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

14 September 2013

Mark Wells b. 1980 (Narnia, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow)
Brian Klugman b. 1975 (writer, Tron Legacy)
Christopher McCulloch [a.k.a. Jackson Publick] b. 1971 (Venture Brothers, The Tick)
Robert Ben Garant b. 1970 (writer, Night at the Museum)
Michael Bollner b. 1958 (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
Sam Neill b. 1947 (Jurassic Park)
Rowena Morrill b. 1944 (graphic artist)
Nicol Williamson b. 1936 died 16 December 2011 (Spawn, Excalibur, Return to Oz)
Walter Koenig b. 1936 (Star Trek, Babylon 5)

A great selection of birthdays today. I love a good exact same day pair and Nicol Williamson and Walter Koenig is very good indeed. We also have Sam Neill, so very good in a quiet little Australian comedy The Dish, and Michael Bollner, whose one role in film was as Augustus Gloop. Rowena is a graphic artist whose fantasy covers kind of look like romance novel covers, Klugman and Ben Garant both write and act and to round of the list, young Mr. Wells.

If I was going for best known in the Picture Slot, that's a three way race between Koenig, Williamson and Neill, with Ensign Chekov having the slight advantage given the genre. If I wanted Pretty Girl, I would have put up one of Rowena's many great cheesecake illustrations, but instead I went Full Tilt Nerd and put up a picture from my favorite work of all the ones mentioned on the list.

Go Team Venture!

Many happy returns of the day to all the living. 

Introduction: This Saturday is the inaugural of a list of predictions from the 1893 Columbian Exhibition, a World's Fair held in Chicago commemorating the 400th anniversary of the voyages of Christopher Columbus. A long list of prominent Americans were sent questionnaires about what they foresaw about life in 1993. 

Predictor: The Reverend Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1902)

Predictions: Cancer and tuberculosis cured... longevity improved such that 150 years will be no unusual age to reach... peace between capital and labor based on The Golden Rule... prisons with ventilation, sunlight, bathrooms and libraries.

Reality: Talmage gets hits with the cure for TB and the improvement in prison conditions, but curing cancer and peace in labor relations are tougher nuts to crack. The longest confirmed lifespan is the French woman Jeanne Calment who died at 122.

There was a recent National Geographic cover that had a picture of a baby and the prediction that the child would live to be 120. I certainly won't be around to write the Reality comment on that, but I highly doubt it. Men's life expectancy in the U.S. is improving markedly, the average increasing by about two years every decade, and nearly caught up to women's life expectancy. The female rate of improvement is much slower, about a year or less improvement every decade. Unless cancer is cured, my guess would be the upper limit for the average is between 90 and 100.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The Third Martian Expedition lands in April 2000. It's Bradbury, so I hardly have to add this but I will.

Things don't go well.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!


  1. I love the Columbian Exposition, for many reasons.

    One is the architecture. Not because I am a classicist or anything, but for two reasons: !, the allowed the planning of the Fair to be nearly entirely dictated by an Architect, which is obviously the way things should be. 2, for a Fair that was supposed to be forward looking (and they were! they showed how to use universal electrical lighting, which was science-fiction at the time) the architectural motif was entirely historical pastiche.

    Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright were very prominent Chicago architects at the time, and were almost completely snubbed. The only thing they got to do was the entrance to the Transportation Building, which has very likely gone on to be more inspirational as a building than any other at the fair.

    The size of the buildings created its own hazards. when one warehouse building caught fire, it was unable to be controlled. The disaster led to more effective exiting, construction, and sprinklering standards.

    The construction of all those buildings was impossible to do in stone in the time frame, so all the classical detailing was made out of what was called 'staff', a mixture of a couple of types of plaster and horsehair to hold things together. One of the reasons nothing remains of the Expo is that it was built out of an impermanet material. in fact, it started to fall apart during the Fair.

    The gleaming white buildings earned the Fair the nickname of "The White City". but in reality, classical roman and Greek architecture was originally multicolored, extensively so. The paints they used were not terribly permanent, and weathering has washed them all away leaving the marble exposed. So all that gleaming white classicist architecture is based on a lie.

    But my favorite aspect of the Columbian Expo is the juxtaposition with Henry Holmes. Holmes built a hotel a few blocks from teh expo that was essentially a murder trap. He had concealed rooms, trapdoors, a basement filled with vats and burial pits, gas outlets in some of the rooms, dead ends, trick locks...the whole thing was like something out of a torture-porn movie. The Fair attracted a large number of young women from rural areas looking for work, and many of them were hired on as chambermaids, and disappeared. He started out in insurance fraud and wound up being a serial killer.

    The Fair was an immense success, not the least because its location in Chicago allowed for so many people from all over the country to visit using the rail system. The science-fictiony Ferris Wheel was a huge draw also.

  2. Great stuff, ZRMcD! I can't believe no one has made a film of Devil in the White City yet. I see on imdb.com that it's "in development", but it's a really sketchy development. Di Caprio is rumored to be cast as Henry Holmes, but that rumor is two years old now and no director is attached to the project. Most productions following this path are vaporware.

  3. Is Daniel Day-Lewis too old to play the part?

    1. Looking up the particulars, yes. Day-Lewis is 56 and Holmes was executed at the age of 35, committing the murders when he was 32 or 33. Even DiCaprio is a little too old at 38, but people take better care of themselves now than then, so it's not terrible casting.

      What I would really love is if somebody had the guts to find a talented unknown actor to play Holmes, the way Michael Rooker was chosen to be the lead in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer way back in the day. (That's Henry Lee Lucas, not Henry Holmes, by the way.)

      It's stunning that the facts of the Henry Holmes case have been known for 120 years now. It was huge in the newspapers of the day, William Randolph Hearst's Chicago Examiner having a field day with it. Think of all the Jack the Ripper movies that have been made and no Henry Holmes movie. It could have been made at any time from 1910 on.

      The guy actually built a hotel to hide his crimes! How creepy is that? The screenplay writes itself.

      Thanks again for mentioning this. Wow!


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