You die! You die! The Lost ColuMn™ Articles

Five years ago (well, actually 2/29/08, but close enough) I decided to start a blog.  I’ve talked about the origins of ColuMn™ here and here.  I won’t go into it again.

Given that I haven’t posted anything since last Halloween, I decided that this anniversary wasn’t really one to celebrate.  But I wanted to acknowledge it and maybe use it as a relauching point of sorts for the site.  So what I’ve decided to do is dig deep into the archives and showcase some of the posts that didn’t make it for one reason or another.

If you have a device with Android 4.0 or above, you probably have something called “Currents”, where you can subscribe to various sites, kind of like an RSS reader.  Well, I have one of those for ColuMn™ and discovered, much to my dismay/amusement, that several “articles” that were never meant to see the light of day were featured on Currents in their incomplete form.  Most of the following come from there, but I’ve also thrown in a couple that have just sat in the queue, waiting to either be deleted or finished.  The wait is over, my children.

ADRIANNA’S G1 (7/28/11)

For some unknown reason, I used to watch the new 90210 on the CW (okay, it’s not unknown — I’m a sucker for anything that appeals to tween girls).  When the show debuted, it was around 2008 and Google had just released their first Android phone, the G1. I had one.  So I was surprised to see one of the show’s main characters, the bitchy/hot pop star, Adrianna, using a G1.

image

This was cool at first, I guess.  A hip, young, attractive TV starlet using the same phone I had.  Okay.  It wasn’t cool.  But it was something.  But as the show continued on season after season, that something turned into unbelievable.  At the time this post was written (7/28/11) she was STILL using the G1! Nobody that rich and hip is going to use a three-year-old phone.  With technology, three years is an eternity.  I got a new phone way before Adrianna did, and I didn’t even have a job.

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  First, aside from the fact that she used the same phone for a little too long, there’s nothing really noteworthy about a character from a show nobody watches using  a G1.  I could never get an angle on the funny side of this, so it just sat there, forgotten, until a picture popped up on Google Currents.

NIGHTMARE SHACK (2008)

This was back when Sparks was still on the writing staff, doing his “Sparks’ Sandbox” bit.  He started a post for our Halloween spectacular that year that just wasn’t very good, so it wasn’t published.  Here it is, in it’s entirety:

I call to you from another dimension.  The dimension of the dead . . . uh, robot dogs . . . with a warning.  October is here which means that Halloween is right around the corner, stalking you, waiting for you to make one wrong move.  Much like I did when I chased that robot mouse into traffic.  BlackJack Voorhees says that he can reanimate my dead robot body, but that I might not be the same when I come back.  I might be . . . sinister.

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  You read that crap, right?  And no, I don’t know why it’s titled “Nightmare Shack”.

ColuMn™ ELECTION PREDICTIONS (11/4/08)

The concept behind this one was to predict fictional characters as winners in the then-current election.  I got one written before I realized it was a stupid idea.

ColuMn has no political bias, but we do have an interest in who wins.  Will it be the old white guy or the black guy?  The old bore or the sorta hot moron?  Is anything, including alien domination, worse than Bush?  ColuMn sent ace reporter Sparks to the future.  January 20, 2009 to be precise.  His assignment:  report back who won what.

Sparks here, reporting live from the exact center of the country, or somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  Seriously.  There’s nothing here.  I’m not even sure I can get the internet here.  Hopefully you’re reading this.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the winners of Election 2008.

President
President

President David Palmer and First Lady Kasidy Yates.  I have no idea what Palmer’s positions on any of the issues are.  Probably not gun control, anti-torture, or pro-terrorist.  I’m just guessing.  But, as you’ll recall from the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Yates, stranded in Earth from the mid-24th century, is quick with a phaser, disintegrating opponent Thomas Whitmore in an apparent blackmail attempt gone wrong. Still, they’re both better than Bush.

Vice-President

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  Pretty obvious.  It was fucking stupid.

TOP 7 BOOKS I READ IN 2012 (12/31/12)

cmsof’s articles tend to be a bit more cerebral than BlackJack’s.  BlackJack is all about the comedy.  cmsof is all about the journalism (or something like that).  I started drafting this back in October last year and I think it would have been a good throwback to the early ColuMn™ posts where I did hilarious stuff like book reviews.

Ranked in the order I read them:

1.  Supergods by Grant Morrison

I’ve enjoyed Morrison’s comics work immensely. The Invisibles is one of the best series committed to paper.

2.  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

3.  Reamde by Neal Stephenson

4.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

5.  It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) by Duff McKagan

6.  Memory by Donald Westlake

7.  John Dies At The End by David Wong

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  Just didn’t get around to it.  Which, in reality, is probably why most of these things never made it onto the site.  I’m lazy.

THE CANNONBALL RUN (7/28/11)

Let’s get this out of the way right off: I love The Cannonball Run.  But I also recognize that it’s profoundly stupid.  So I thought it would make a great “Watch With ColuMn™” post.  So I started writing it.  Then I ran some of the jokes by a friend and he hated them.  So I scrapped the post.  Judge for yourself:

Hey, gang!  It’s time for another installment of Watch With ColuMn™.  In previous episodes, we’ve watched The Mysterious Monsters and Free To Be You And Me.  This time out, it’s something a little less obscure:  1981’s immortal crowd-pleaser, The Cannonball Run.

The Cannonball Run, as you may or may not know, occupies space in a healthy, much-loved genre: the coast-to-coast race movie with a huge all-star cast. Picture It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, if you replaced all the actors with jabbering idiots.

Burt Reynolds movies usually follow a very specific formula:  a) they co-star Dom DeLuise, and b) they suck.  The best compliment you can pay The Cannonball Run is that it’s not The Cannonball Run 2.  The best compliment you can pay The Cannonball Run 2 is cursing whatever God you believe in.

Beepers were invented solely because Burt Reynolds performance in this movie didn’t meet the standards of “phoning it in”.  The only analogy for something as stupid as The Cannonball Run is The Cannonball Run.  The Cannonball Run is to 1981 movies starring Burt Reynolds as The Cannonball Run is to human misery.  That said, it’s still one of the best things Terry Bradshaw has ever been associated with.

Without further ado, let’s begin our race by meeting the colorful cast of imbeciles who we’ll be forced to share the next 95 impossibly long minutes with.


J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds)
Dom DeLuise (Victor Prinzim/Captain Chaos)


Roger Moore (Seymour Goldfarb, Jr.)


Farrah Fawcett (Pamela Glover)

On the bright side, starring in The Cannonball Run made cancer the second worst thing that happened to her.


Dean Martin (Jamie Blake)
Sammy Davis, Jr. (Morris Fenderbaum)


Jack Elam (Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing)


Adrienne Barbeau (Marcie Thatcher aka Lamourghini Babe #1 –
seriously, that’s how it’s listed on IMDB)


Terry Bradshaw (Terry)
Mel Tillis (Mel)

Both apparently students of the Tony Danza School of Acting.


Jackie Chan (Jackie Chan – Subaru Driver)


Jamie Farr (The Shiek)

00:26:  The first of way too many times we’ll hear Burt Reynolds’ signature fake laugh.

They keep threatening to remake The Cannonball Run, and I just wonder why?  Does the world really need another celebrity-driven ensemble piece where the various actors smirk their way through a ludicrous feature-length movie that seems more like an excuse to get paid to hang out with other smirking douchebags?  I mean, other than the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, of course.

The fact that there’s a novelization of The Cannonball Run proves that literacy isn’t necessarily a sign of intelligence.  On one hand, dogs can’t read.  On the other hand, dogs can’t read The Cannonball Run novelization. Edge: dogs.

Why this post was never, uh, posted:  I don’t know.  I think it’s funny and it’s inclusion here is one of the primary reasons I wanted to do this “Lost Articles” post.

DAMN YOU, CANADA (4/29/10)

Sometimes it takes me a couple of stabs to get a post right.  That’s what happened here.  A friend sent me the photo from a playground and I thought it was hilarious and wanted to create a post around it.  This was my first try:

Okay, Canada.  We let you beat us at hockey because, well, it’s all you’ve got.  We may be cowboy dicks down here, but we don’t like to see grown men cry.  We may have only won the Silver in hockey, but we got the Gold in being awesome.  So no sooner do I get back from your country, than I see this alarming sign at the local children’s playground.  (note: there are reasons for a middle-aged man to be alone in a children’s park that aren’t technically “illegal”).

What does that mean?  There are really only two possibilities, and they’re equally disturbing.  The first is that children born and/or living in the United States are developmentally retarded by 6 months at the age of 18 months.  I’m not sure if I believe that, but having not been around a child since I was seven years old, I have no idea if that’s an accurate representation or not.  No big deal, I guess.  By the time we hit five, we’re caught up.  I can only assume that accelerated growth continues in all areas for the remainder of the average American’s life.  So by the time we’re 50, the poor Canadians are only 45.  Damn.  Canada wins again.

The other possibility is that the United States government has a vendetta against Canadian children between the ages of 18 months and two years of age.  Who knows how many accidents pre-two year old Canadians have had to endure as the government sits in silence, probably from across the street in an unmarked van, gathering intelligence.  We know your weakness, Canada.  Do you dare us to exploit it?  DO YOU?

So, in closing, I think either Canadian children between the ages of 18 months and two years or American children in the same age bracket should launch a class action lawsuit against the US government to right this agregious case of isolationist ageism.

Not bad, I thought, but I can do better.  And I did.

Why this post wasn’t, uh, posted: Fairly obvious.

 

THE BOX OF TACOS (12/2/10)

The plan was to eat a box of Taco Bell tacos (12 in a box) and write about my experience, with (hopefully) hilarious results.  This image is as far as I got:

image

I can’t say I regret not completing this one.

Why this post wasn’t, uh, posted: I wanted to live and I wanted that life to be without shit-filled pants.

Happy 5th Anniversary, ColuMn™!  Looking forward the the next post in, say, 2018.

Marvel Masterpieces 2 Unauthorized Sticker Set

Way back in the early 90s, I was REALLY into collecting things.  Comics, Spogz, trading cards, action figures, and Star Trek memorabilia were my core obsessions.  I suppose my collector’s mentality really has it’s origins in 1977, when I became almost too obsessed with collecting Star Wars trading cards.  I was pretty sure than my collections would help me not only buy a mansion, but coast through retirement once I got super old and decided to sell everything.  That’s not so much the case now that the speculator bubble has burst, but I still have a bunch of valuable collectibles that will at least afford me a box of tacos and half a tank of gas when I get desperate enough to sell.

In the mid-90s I moved from Washington to Illinois.  It was kind of a crazy, ill-advised move, sight unseen, to Charleston, IL.  Not exactly an urban mecca overloaded with high-paying jobs, I pretty much did every job known to man in an effort to keep feeding my comic book addiction.  Somehow, through numerous bouts of unemployment, and jobs that paid about as well as cancer, I rarely missed an issue that I wanted to collect, and even found time (and money) to expand my collectibles into stickers.

But not just any stickers.  We’re talking stickers than cost fifty cents out of the vending machine at Walker’s Supersaver Foods.  When I first spotted Wolverine in prism sticker format glaring up at me from the plastic case that anybody whose ever bought anything from a grocery store vending machine is familiar with, I knew that I would not rest until I had them all or I was broke(r).

These stickers seemed to combine everything I was into back then.  Comics, trading cards, and the X-men.  This was at the height of the X-men Animated Series popularity, which I was way into.  All of the main cast of the cartoon are represented in sticker form here except for Professor X and Jubilee.  Magneto gets his own sticker, but Xavier doesn’t?  Score one for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Every time I’d hit the grocery store back in late ’94/early ’95 I’d plug a buck or so into the machine and anxiously flip open the white cardboard protector to see if I’d get a NEW sticker or yet another Rogue sticker.  I must have spent $25 on Rogue stickers alone, and probably close to that on Sabretooth.

And what’s up with the character selection?  Cyber?  Shatterstar?  Over such mainstays as Spider-man and the Fantastic Four?  Carnage and Venom each get their own sticker, but other Marvel villains such as the Green Goblin and Ultron get no love?  I do secretly love that there are two 2099 stickers in this set, but I’m pretty comfortable stating that the lack of the non-2099 Doctor Doom is an oversight punishable by death in many countries.

As the weeks went by I amassed a pretty good collection.  I had 25 stickers.  Now, this was just as the internet was starting to enter the mainstream, so it wasn’t until 2005 that I came to find out that there were actually 30 stickers in the set.  Collectors refer to them as “Marvel Prism Series Three”. And not only that, but these were unauthorized stickers based on a select number of cards from the Marvel Masterpieces 2 trading cards.

I didn’t exactly spend every waking moment scouring the internet for the missing stickers from my collection, but I did spend a big chunk of time searching for them.  It took me five long years. but a few weeks ago I finally found somebody on ebay auctioning off a handful of these stickers.  Included in that auction were all five stickers that I didn’t have.  I contacted the seller to see if we could strike a deal for those five stickers and, after an exchange of emails, we agreed to a price and less than a week later, my collection was finally complete!

One thing I discovered was that the Beast sticker that I owned was NOT the Beast sticker that is considered a part of Marvel Masterpieces 2.  I have no idea what series it belongs to, but for 15 years I thought it was a part of this series.  Looking at it now, it’s clear that it’s quite different from the rest of the stickers, but if you compare the Captain America sticker to the Hulk sticker, they don’t exactly look like they belong in the same series either.  Five of the stickers are, for reasons unknown, die-cut.  The Iron Man sticker is the only sticker with the name as a separate sticker.  Unauthorized sticker sets seem to make their own rules.

The collectors out there no doubt know the feeling you get when you FINALLY complete a collection after years of searching.  Very few things in life ever come to a definitive end, where you can say, “That’s it.  It’s done.”  When you’re talking about obscure copyright-infringing vending machine stickers, that sense of accomplishment is about a thousandfold.  I seriously never thought I’d complete this set, and yet here I am, 15 years older, relishing a Doom 2099 sticker than I never thought I’d actually get to hold in my hands.

These stickers probably mean something to exactly one person in the entire world: me.  They bring back my time in Charleston: a very specific time in my life that was tough as hell at the time, but that I look back fondly on now.  These stickers real value are being a touchstone to that time and a link back to the person I was all those years ago.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re worth $8 per sticker, individually, and god knows how much as a complete set.  Since I may be the only person in the world with a complete mint condition set of these stickers, I place their value at $100,000.  They’re for sale at that price.  Email me.

The moral of this story is never give up.  Dare to dream big.  Everybody has there own metaphorical (or actual) Doom 2099 sticker.  Never quit.
Never surrender.  If I can complete this sticker set after fifteen years, then I’m sure you can do whatever terrible waste of time and money you want to do.  Maybe not as triumphantly and kick-ass as I, but probably well enough.

Checklist:

*numbers in parenthesis correlate to the Marvel Masterpieces II Trading Cards card number

Archangel (#16)
Beast (#17)
Bishop (#57)
Cable (#18)
Captain America (#15)
Carnage (#19)
Colossus (#38)
Cyber (#53)
Cyclops (#7)
Darkhawk (59)
Doom 2099 (#43)
Gambit (#31)
Ghost Rider (#13)
Havok (#84)
Hawkeye (#70)
Hulk (#1)
Iron Man (#4)
Jean Grey (#75)
Magneto (#39)
Punisher (#26)
Rogue (#27)
Sabretooth (#28)
Shatterstar (#76)
Silver Surfer (11)
Spider-man 2099 (#41)
Storm (#10)
Thanos (#35)
Thor (#3)
Venom (#45)
Wolverine (#6)

8/14/13:  UPDATE!!!!

Well, well, well.  Looks like somebody is offering a complete set of these stickers for the low, low, low price of ONLY $700.

Marvel Masterpieces 2 Sticker Series ebay

Gee.  I wonder which blog the seller was referring to (though I have to take some minor objection to the phrase “tons of money”.

Check out the auction here while it lasts (and no, it’s not me selling my prized set)

UPDATE!! (4/16/15)
Another set is up on eBay for just under $500 (again, not my set). Also references this post. Glad to help, fellas.