It Happened to Me Tampa Bay The Current Situation

It’s Small Business Saturday!

With Thanksgiving having come and gone in the U.S., we’re now in the holiday shopping season, which starts with Small Business Saturday!

Small Business Saturday is an annual event whose purpose to encourage people to support their local small businesses. Instead of going to a “big box” store or chain, we’re asked to support local businesses, either by going to their local brick-and-mortar shop or shopping online. This event takes place every November and represents a significant opportunity to increase sales for small businesses during the holiday shopping season.

Seminole Heights’ seal, which depicts a two-headed alligatorI live in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood, where we’re fortunate to have a number of small businesses that do provide goods, services, and those less tangible “neighborhood-y” things that chains and big box stores can’t or won’t.

The day is young, but we’ve already picked up some goodies at Gott Glass, the local glass-blowing studio and shop.

If you’re in the area, check them out! The shop is a lovely mix of indoor and outdoor, Susan Gott and her staff are nice, and they do glass-blowing demos and even have classes (which I plan on signing up for).


How low-information voters are decorating their trucks these days

America The Current Situation

Happy Thanksgiving!

Comic: Owl descends on mouse, who begs for its life: “It’s Thanksgiving!” The owl says “You’re right” and gives the mouse a cinnamon stick. The mouse proceeds to give an elaborate speech about compassion and the owl speaks over the mouse, saying “RUB IT ALL OVER YOUR BODY FIRST!”

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., so here’s an appropriate comic. Savor the holiday, have some gratitude, share your blessings if you’re able to, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Music

The November 23 gig

Jay, Dave, and Tom, the other members of the band setting up on our “stage” — the dock of Bayou Bistro, which opens up onto Tarpon Bay. A beautiful sunset in the background.
Tap to view at full size.

Another Wednesday, another fun gig with Tom Hood and the Tropical Sons, the house band for open mic night at Bayou Bistro in Tarpon Springs. It was a fun pre-Thanksgiving celebration, and a chance to play some good ol’ classic rock with great local musicians at a very friendly bar with tasty seafood.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to rock out!

A selfie featuring Joey deVilla in an aloha shirt with his accordion in the foreground, and Tom Hood and the Tropical Suns in the background. Behind them is Tarpon Bay and a Florida sunset.
Tap to view at full size.
funny Geek

The “Hulk vs. Venom” team-up comic book was definitely a product of the ’90s

A scene from an old comic book came into one of my social media feeds, and now I’m feeling nostalgic for comicdom’s most over-the-top decade.

Cover of “Incredible Hulk vs. Venom,” issue 1. An incredibly 1990s-looking cover depicting Hulk and Venom fighting each other while tangled in a web.
Tap to view at full size.

Just look at how incredibly “nineties” the cover of The Incredible Hulk vs. Venom #1 from April 1994 is! Illustrator Jim Craig did a very good impression of Todd McFarlane, who’d left Marvel a couple of years prior to found the even-more-1990s publisher, Image Comics.

The only way it could be more a product of its decade is if it featured someone with a comically large sword (or a comically large number of regular swords) and pouches, pouches, pouches.

The comic starts with the classic team-up plotline of “first we fight because of some misunderstanding, but then we team up to take on a big bad villain.”

This being a comic from that era, writer Peter David managed to fit in an STD joke into the battle:

Excerpt from “Incredible Hulk vs. Venom,” issue 1. Hulk claps his hands together, creating a noise loud enough to take advantage of Venom’s weakness to sound. Hulk says “Which means all it should take to put an end to this gratuitous nonsense is a serious case of the clap.”
Tap to view at full size.

In case you’re wondering why the Hulk is so quippy, it’s because Bruce Banner managed to merge his personality with Hulk’s, resulting in his becoming a big green scientist with a bad attitude. As for Venom, he’d already made the transition from villain to anti-hero.

Venom and Hulk are both in San Francisco to lend a hand after an earthquake. A local TV station gets a letter from someone going by the name of “Dr. Bad Vibes” — he claims responsibility for the earthquake, and unless his ransom demands are met, he’ll make an even bigger one!

Hulk and Venom barge into the TV station during a live  on-air reading of Dr. Bad Vibes’ ransom note and trash-talk him ’80s/’90s wrestler style. This scene also provides us with a view of Hulk’s totally ’90s “rad” haircut:

Page 28 from “Incredible Hulk vs. Venom,” issue 1. Features a scene where Venom and Hulk barge into a live TV news report and trash-talk “Dr. Bad Vibes.” They end their taunting with “We’re going to beat (clap) you up!”
Tap to view at full size.

In case you’re too young to remember, Hulk and Venom’s simultaneous “beat (clap) you up!” line comes from the “Hans and Franz” skits from Saturday Night Live at the time:

In the end, Hulk and Venom find Dr. Bad Vibes, who actually can’t control earthquakes. He’s a delusional guy with a cardboard box labeled “Earthquake Machine.” He sent his threatening letter prior to the quake and by comic-book-coincidence, the earthquake followed, with “hilarity” soon ensuing:

Dr. Bad Vibes, a meek, broken man, holding a cardboard box labeled “Earthquake Machine.”

What a decade!

funny Geek

The title sequence for “Star Wars: Andor,” 1975 style!

“Andor” title card, done in a cheesy 1970s font reminiscent of “Space: 1999”.

What if Star Wars: Andor was broadcast in 1975 instead of 2022?

Auralnauts — the people who’ve been remixing Star Wars scenes to great effect for years — have answered this question by creating their own title sequence for Andor, and from the downscaled video, cheesy title graphics, 1970s synthpop, and Very Serious Narrator providing a summary of the show, it’s 1970s-a-riffic!

Andor’s face against a 1970s-style background of neon/laser trails.

“Starring Diego Luna” title card, with a suitably downscaled image of Andor shooting a laser pistol.

Title card: “Based on THX 1138 by George Lucas”

Here’s the video. Enjoy!


The Three Laws of Money

Poster: The Three Laws of Money. 1. MORE money is better than LESS money. 2. Money NOW is better than money LATER. 3. REAL money is better than FAKE money.
Tap to view the Laws at full size.

I remember hearing The Three Laws of Money from OpenCola’s cofounder John Henson when I worked there — 2000 through 2002 — during those high-flying days at the end of the dot-com bubble. He said he heard it from someone else, but I can’t remember whom.

In light of everything that’s happened with cryptocurrency this year, I thought I’d post this and remind everyone of rule three.

Once again, the Three Laws of Money are:

  1. MORE money is better than LESS money. Obvious, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious. More money means you can buy more goods and services, have more influence, and invest more to increase your money supply.
  2. Money NOW is better than money LATER. This is a greatly simplified summary of the time value of money: a dollar (or pick your favorite currency) today is worth more than the same dollar in the future.
  3. REAL money is better than FAKE money. And real vs. fake isn’t an either-or thing, but two ends of a spectrum. The more people that accept a kind of money, the more “real” it is. As the de facto world reserve currency, the U.S. dollar is very real. The Iranian Rial, the cheapest currency in the world at the time of writing, is less “real”. I will leave determining the “reality” of cryptocurrencies as an exercise for the reader.