Monday, June 30, 2008

Words of Iron

"We must also be prepared, while we are reading Dante, to accept the Christian and Catholic view of ourselves as responsible rational beings. We must abandon any idea that we are the slaves of chance, or environment, or our subconscious; any vague notion that good and evil are merely relative terms, or that conduct and opinion do not really matter; any comfortable persuasion that, however shiftlessly we muddle through life, it will somehow or other come right on the night. We must try to believe that man's will is free, that he can consciously exercise choice, and that his choice can be decisive to all eternity. For The Divine Comedy is the drama of the soul's choice. It is not a fairy-story, but a great Christian allegory, deriving its power from the terror and splendour of the Christian revelation. Clear, hard thought went to its making; its beauty is of that solid and indestructible sort that is built upon a framework of nobly proportioned bones. If we ignore the theological structure, and merely browse about in it for detached purple passages and poetic bits and pieces, we shall be disappointed, and never see the architectural grandeur of the poem as a whole. People who tackle Dante in this superficial way seldom get beyond the picturesque squallors of the Inferno. This is as though we were to judge a great city after a few days spent underground among the cellars and sewers; it would not be surprising if we were to report only an impression of sordidness, suffocation, rats, fetor, and gloom. But the grim substructure is only there for the sake of the city whose walls and spires stand up and take the morning; it is for the vision of God in the Paradiso that all the rest of the allegory exists." ---Dorothy L. Sayers, from the Introduction to The Divine Comedy I: Hell.

Dorothy L. Sayers published her translation of Hell in 1949; she followed with Purgatory, but died before fully translating Paradise. It was finished by her good friend Barbara Reynolds.

When I was in high school we did read The Inferno, as John Ciardi halfway translated the title. Ciardi's translation and notes were written as a poet; Sayers' were written as a poet and a Christian, and I cannot help but think that hers is superior. It reads as clearer and more to the point, and, if I can use the term, snappier. I need to get the other two volumes of Sayers' translation. Years after high school I tracked down Ciardi's other two volumes and read them; I need to compare both works in their entirety.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dungeons of Isengard Orc Captain

This is it. This is really, really it. The last, the very last LOTR action figure needed to complete my collection. Oh, sure, I could use a Gate Troll and a Fell Beast, but those are "special" items. This is the last figure: the Dungeons of Isengard Orc Captain. Or the Chef Orque des Donjons D'Isengard, as the Canadian bilingual packaging declares him.

And what a figure he is. Though no taller than most human-size figures in the line (6"), he has heft: he is the only fat figure in the series. Even his packing bubble is 1/3 deeper to accomodate his proportions. He is armored, mailed, booted, and gloved from toe to neck, and he carries an enormous mallet and an orc-sword that shows the design change from elf to goblin in it's ancestry. His head is mostly bald with a tripartite top-knot that shows off his pointed ears well. His beautifully sculpted neck-fat fold, his dark-circled yellow eyes, and his fangs protruding over blubbered lips all declare: Look out. Not only will he kill you, he will eat you. And not necessarily in that order.

What a lovely puncuation point he makes to my LOTR action figure collecting, and only 4 or 5 years since the movies concluded. Next: on to army building. And then, of course, The Hobbit. And thirteen dwarves...

UPDATE: Well, I have actually unpacked him and found out that part of what seemed a huge belly is really his armor. Also that his toes are sticking out of his leggings. And he has that most dreaded of action figure features, a mechanical action activated by a button on his back. But he's still great.

Monday, June 23, 2008

There is a Lady sweet and kind: Favorite poems


There is a Lady sweet and kind,
Was never face so pleased my mind:
I did but see her passing by,
And yet I love her till I die.

Her gesture, motion, and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Cupid is winged, and doth range,
Her country so my love doth change:
But change she earth, or change she sky,
Yet will I love her till I die.

Anonymous, from Thomas Ford's Music of Sundry Kinds, 1607

Descriptive of an experience that has happened to me twice. When I heard James Blunt's song You're Beautiful I recognized it as a modern re-working of this theme.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rambling Rant On Primitive People

Probably by now everyone has seen the photos of the "undiscovered" tribe in the Brazilian rain forest, threatening with spears and arrows the airplane that is photographing them. Recently it was revealed that these photos were released to dramatize the efforts of a group to protect tribes who had had no outside contact from the depredations of the logging industry in Brazil. The tribe was isolated, but had been known before-hand, especially by the group that had taken the pictures. Which raises several interesting points.

How pure can their culture now be said to be? For all we know, they might have had a rich and complex system of religion or mythology. Then this airplane flies over them. For all we know they might now worship the great white flying thing that buzzes and flappeth not. But we'll never know, because no one has contacted them before, and supposedly never will. The same people who claim to want to protect this tribe from contamination flies right over them. Sure, it's not Cortez, but if there's one thing I've learned from Star Trek, it's that First Contact can have unpredictable repercussions.

Are we treating these people like endangered animals? Everyone wants to preserve their way of life. This is being done by studying them from afar, making a protected prohibited environment for them, and keeping far away from them the dangers (and, let's face it, the advantages) of modern life. What I'm trying to say is, we are, in effect, making decisions for them. We decide they are going to remain in their primitive state. I would like to make contact with them, even if they're only going to tell us to beat it and leave them alone. At least we would be treating them like human beings and not like spotted owls.

I keep having this vision of twenty years from now. "Civilization" has inevitably encroached on these people, and a member of the tribe is angrily confronting some of the conservationists who had been deciding their fate, accusing them of doing nothing while he was pulling undigested nuts out of his poop to survive the drought and his father died of massive blood poisoning and seven of his children died before they were one year old. I hope I'm wrong. I hope they can live in peace. But can it really be at the whim of the myth of the "noble savage"?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bender and Kif Kroker

Yesterday, thanks to the good efforts of my friend at Z's Toys and More, I got the two figures of Futurama Series Three by Toynami, Bender and Kif Kroker. With them came the final elements to complete the figure of the Robot Devil.
Bender Bending Rodriguez comes with three interchangeable eye units: angry, emotionless, and scared. His accessories include a bottle of booze, a can of Mom's Old-Fashioned Robot Oil, a pile of cash, and the Robot Devil's cane and top hat. His chest cavity actually opens so you can store stuff in there. I found the Robot Devil's top hat slightly disappointing because it has no hole or hollow in the crown; it is simply solid plastic and sits on top of the RB's head. It would have been sweet to have a top hat you could put on other figure's heads as well.
Kif Kroker, Captain Zap Brannigan's much put-upon second in command and boyfriend of Amy Wong, comes with a framed picture of Amy, the cowboy hat he wore in the episode "Where The Buggalo Roam," one of the enemy Ball aliens ("Balls Thoroughly Licked!"), and the Robot Devil's legs. His hat is completely wearable, but is big, blue, and cartoony. It looks like the Homer Simpson action figure could wear it with complete fittingness.
So now I had all the parts needed for the Robot Devil, and I quickly assembled them all. But "Oh what an appallingly ironic outcome!", one of his horns, which had fallen off months ago when I attached the head to the torso, has gone astray, so he is even now incomplete. I know I put it in a completely safe place. I just can't remember where, curse it. It'll turn up someday, I'm sure, when I'm looking for something else. Then I won't be able to find the body.
Coming in the future: Fry as Captain Yesterday, Bender as Super Robot King, Leela as Clobberella, Amy Wong, Calculon, and Lrr of the planet Omicron Perseii 8. What, no Professor?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Odds and Ends 2

We had to remove a baby raccoon from under my nephews room this week. We released it down by the creek at the bottom of the hill. Hopefully it will be too scared to come back.

The Book of the Damned by Charles Fort came in. I dipped into the first chapter and found the prose style very tortuous. Its hard sometimes to see what he's getting at, but he builds up to his point with a sort of slap-dash intensity, till you get an impressionistic idea of what he means. This might have something to do with the fact that he was largely self-educated and a journalist. Still, he has a kind of crackpot charm that comes through, and he makes you think about what he's saying while you try to crack what exactly that is. Charles Fort: The Grampa of the Paranormal.

Saw an article about a study someone did on intelligence using the members of Mensa as a study group, and they found out that among the male members the smartest had this thing in common: they all had very hairy backs. By this criteria I must be freakin' Einstein.

My fortune cookie this Sunday: "The weather is wonderful." I think this is an opinion, not a fortune. Unless it's meant like, you know, metaphorically. I almost felt like asking for my future back.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Favorite Poems: Ode


We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

And sitting by desolate streams:

World-losers and world-forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world's great cities,

And out of a fabulous story

We fashion an empire's glory:

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three with a new song's measure

Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying

In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

And Babel itself with our mirth;

And o'erthrew them with prophesying

To the old of the new world's worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,

Or one that is coming to birth.

Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy, 1844-1881
Probably some of you will recognize a part of this poem from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I love this poem because it discusses a fact I find fascinating: the ability of dreams, imagination, and ideas to impact the reality of the world. A lot of people will tell you we have to deal with things the way they are, as if they were immutable, when much of what cheeses us off is that way because people make it that way. I connect this poem with a small clump of quotes. One is from Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street: "All of the buildings, all of the cars,/ Were once just a dream in somebody's head." Another is from Shakespeare: "Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so," which I associate not so much with moral relativism as that attitude towards facts can be formed by the terms we apply to them. In ancient Ireland bards could bring down a chieftain simply by writing such biting satirical songs that no-one, not even his warriors, would ever take him seriously again. Language is a potent tool; if you don't have the words or terms to express what you mean your very ability to think about something is diminished. But each new word you learn broadens your ability to speculate and add new shades of thought. So it is not the hard-headed realists who change the world in the most profound ways, though they can be masters of manipulating the system as it stands. It is the poets and dreamers who are "the movers and shakers", to use the phrase misappropriated by the money people in the 80's.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rambling Rant on Empathy

This week I was watching The Colbert Report, and saw a guest Steve Colbert had on called Alan Rabbinowitz. Rabbinowitz told the story of how he was a stammerer as a child, and how as a sort of therapy he talked to animals he had as pets. Apparently stammerers have little trouble talking clearly to animals, as there is no judgemental mind to make them nervous. Anyway, he made a promise to these pets that if, when he grew up, he could overcome this speech impediment, he would use his voice to be a voice for animals. He has indeed gone on to make good efforts on behalf of large wild cats, like tigers, panthers, and jaguars. Colbert said, after hearing this story, that he had come the closest to crying that he ever had on his show. Rabbinowitz said he thought it was obvious that animals had minds, personalities, and emotions, but no voices, and that he wanted to be "a voice for the animals."

Yeahmm...Whenever anybody sets up to be "a voice for the voiceless," little alarm bells go off in my head. It always suggests for me a subtle grab for power from groups which, by their very definition, can never disagree or protest decisions made in their name. Decisions made for non-coherent groups of humans, such as the very young, the senile, the comatose, the mentally disturbed, made by some self-appointed ambassador, seem to me questionable if they pose these decisions as the sensitively divined wills of the non-coherent themselves, rather than as the decisions of the ambassadors, no matter how humanely and ethically arrived at they may be. It seems to me to be patronizing in the worst, most extreme sense of the word. People can have trouble figuring out the will and desires of people they know and can speak with, sometimes.

How much more difficult it must be to figure out what an animal or plant would say if it could talk. For all we know know a tiger might say, "I want little fat babies, and plenty of 'em." An oak tree might want its forest to spread to cover the earth, with no other trees to compete. In nature there are checks and balances to keep species strong and controlled; it is true that humans have in some instances damaged the balance, and if they want to restore it, must take action. But we have to do it as the only ethical self-aware sentient beings we know of on the planet, not as the prophets of the birds and beasts.

"If I could talk to the animals." "I speak for the trees. Let 'em grow! Let 'em grow!" It has been a dream of mankind since we left the Garden to commune with nature. We fill our literature with talking beasts and walking trees, with elves and hobbits, and people the stars with aliens, all in our desire to communicate with the Other, in our loneliness as the only perceived intelligence in the universe. It is part of our empathy, one of our noblest traits, to want to treat others as we would want to be treated. It is what made Mr. Colbert want to cry when he heard it. I hope it is only a metaphor that Mr. Rabbinowitz uses to further his worthwhile goals. But an over-developed anthropomorphism can lead on one hand to the person who treats their dog like some kind of mute child, and on the other to a kind of tyranny in the name of a constituency that can never bring its leader to heel.

I would dearly love to be able to talk to my cat, Shadow, if only to ask him not to throw up hairballs on my treasured possessions. But to do that, he would have to become more human, in essence ruining what it would mean for him to really be a cat. Or I would have to move to his level, becoming more of a beast. Neither option appeals to me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crest Toothpaste Premiums: Where They At?

Many yarons ago, when we were all young and alive, Crest toothpaste had these cool toy premiums. We got a lion, an elephant, and an alligator. Some time later at a garage sale we got a bear. The rhino, shown above, we never actually saw, but this is the only picture--the only picture--of any one I have ever seen, anywhere, on the internet.

We still have the lion and the elephant. The bear got chewed up by the lawnmower. The alligator was mine. I loved it. It was cartoony enough to pass for a dragon, and that's what it was in many of my playings. I remember building a tower with tinkertoys for it. It mysteriously "disappeared" after a visit from our cousin, Evil Evie.

I would love to see even just a picture of it again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Feel A Fool

I was talking to my brother Yen in Florida yesterday, who has finally broken down and bought some Indiana Jones action figures. He told me something I didn't know, though I'd bought some IJ figures more than a month ago: that in those little cargo boxes were toy treasures, and stickers. If you send in six of these stickers on the form provided, you get an exclusive action figure of the Crystal Skeleton featured in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I scrambled and found two of the boxes (I must have at least two more, somewhere) and found out I had the little golden idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark and a Chinese terra cotta horse. I need to pay more attention.

Owl Spotting II

Thanks, AlanDP, for the suggestion. A barred owl fits my sighting much more than a great horned owl, especially the white face and the more "slanted" black eyes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Owl Spotting

Sunday morning while I was waiting for my ride to work I saw a pale head with dark eyes poking up over the rim of the hill. For just a split second I thought, "That looks a lot like an alien." Then it turned and dipped its tawny head to the ground, and I saw that it was an owl--a large owl. By its size I think it must have been a great horned owl, and not the smaller screech owl. After it pecked at the ground a few more times (probably at its morning meal) it flew up to a branch and sat so motionless for about twenty minutes that if I didn't know it was there and saw its head move occassionally I probably wouldn't have seen it. I'm always surprised we have so much wildlife around here, and we're almost in the center of town.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hail To The Mail

The summer doldrums are setting in, and nothing battles them better for me than a big ol' box o' books. And that's what the mailman dropped off for me today at 11 am, a package from the great and wonderful Bargain Books, a remaindered book company helmed by Edward R. Hanilton, Bookseller. Among its newspapery pages, printed in teeny-tiny eye-strain-o-vision print, you may find marvelous books at reasonable prices (well below bookstore prices), all shipped for one low $3.50 shipping fee.

This is what I got today:

The Lisa Book. A volume in The Simpsons Library of Wisdom, books zeroing in on one individual Springfield character and their view of the world. On one sample page: a look at Lisa's blog, entitled Up On My High Horse, subtitled Lisa Simpson's Blogosphere of News and Opinions...But Mostly Opinions. Originally priced at $9.95, bought for $3.95.

Gahan Wilson's Monster Collection. A collection of the macabre cartoonist's best cartoons. Long before there was The Far Side, there was Gahan Wilson. One sample: a doctor chases away a vampire from a patient's bed with a cross, while a fellow physician says, "Well, there goes my diagnosis of severe anemia!" Original price, $19.90, bought for $4.95.

Rumpole Misbehaves, by John Mortimer. The latest novel in the adventures of the curmudgeonly English barrister, most famously embodied by the late, great Leo McKern. I've lately got and read three omnibus volumes of the Rumpole tales, and really enjoyed again their combination of mystery story and social comedy. This latest volume by the over 80 Mortimer was priced at $23.95, and bought for $15.95.

Understanding the Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism, edited by Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil D. Isaacs. The third volume in a series of essay collections, I got the first volume back in the late '70's. Some essays reprinted from the first volume, but some new material, as of 2004. I have got a lot of books on Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. A lot. But I can seldom resist a new one. Published at $25, bought for $5.95.

Ordered but not shipped yet: The Book of the Damned: The Collected Works of Charles Fort.

A lovely batch for summer reading, that may last me to the end of the week.


I thought I had a Cornelius. While I was on our whirlwind trip to Florida, I bought three Medicom Planet of the Apes action figures, took them out of their blister packs for more room in loading them up, and brought the cards home. But the cards themselves don't have the names of the particular figure in that package on them (it's on the blister, as you can see in the picture), so in the excitement, work, and getting back into the routine of post-vacation trauma, I apparently forgot that it was a Lucius (Zira and Cornelius' nephew) that I had. It was not until I got a loose Lucius from eBay that I realized my mistake, and that every apester's favorite power couple was still incomplete. So back to eBay we went.

This Friday they had a Planet of the Apes marathon on AMC. The ones I had the time to see were Escape From the Planet of the Apes, the beginning of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and parts of Battle For the Planet of the Apes that I dipped into now and then. I always liked Escape a lot, because it brought Zira and Cornelius to our world and time (1973!) and it seemed to bring the Ape experience that much closer to home. It was also the one that relied most heavily on their characters. It was sad of course, because they are killed at the end, but in the Seventies, kids, they didn't sugarcoat things.

Anyway, it was most appropriate, because around three o'clock that day the mailman trundles up, bearing my Cornelius figure along with the more mundane mail. He (Cornelius, that is, not the mailman) now stands proudly at Zira's side. The articulation isn't great, but the art more than makes up for that. Cornelius' harassed, beetle-browed expression is captured perfectly. And my second nephew Lucius has been most happily dubbed Ducius by my brother John, in honor of the old custom of the family in naming extra figures, the same custom that led to the name Adoy for our extra Yoda figure.

Friday, June 6, 2008


This is a picture dating from my Middle School years, so that would put it about '77-78. It's peculiar among my pictures as taking place in contemporary times (notice the human's clothes) and for the fact that it is lightly colored, not my usual style. This type of Ogre, with it's dead-white flesh, wormy blue veins, and lustrous purple eyes set the model for the Ogre race in the epic, unfinished fantasy novel that my brother John and I worked on, called Goldfire.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Knickerbocker The Lord of the Rings

In 1978, Ralph Bakshi brought the world his much-maligned animated version of The Lord of the Rings. In 1979, Knickerbocker (which made toy lines for movies) came out with action figures of six characters and two steeds from the movie. There was Frodo, Gandalf, Sam, Aragorn, Gollum, and a Ringwraith, it's horse, and the white horse Frodo rode to escape it.

Locally, they were available at Perry's, a department store at Oak Park Mall. Through a lot of persuasion (and downright begging) we were able to get Mom to buy us all that they had: all the figures and steeds except for Sam. We always hoped that they'd come out with more figures (at least Gimli and Legolas) but the film was never hugely popular and apparently most of the shelf space was hogged by the Star Wars franchise.

We've cherished these figures through the years. Gollum mysteriously "disappeared" after we allowed our sister and her visiting friend to play with a few figures, but Yen was able to replace him from a comic book store when he moved to Florida. The horses have lost three fragile hooves between them. The Nazgul has come apart and been put together again. And my niece chewed on the band of Gandalf's hat. But we have them still, the only LOTR action figures for many years, and we still have all their accessories.

These pictures are off eBay. Our toys are much more worn.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rambling Rant on Doom

My grandad, viewing earth's worn cogs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
His grandad, in his house of logs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
His grandad, in the Flemish bogs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
His grandad, in his old skin togs,
Said, "Things are going to the dogs."
There's just one thing I have to state:
The dogs have had a good long wait.

This poem, attributed to Anonymous in my battered old edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, has been much in my mind of late. I started thinking of it when a good friend of mine at work, my boss in fact, expressed his concerns that, with the rising cost of food, the increasing incidence of natural disasters, and what he believes is a serious possibility that Barak Obama is the Antichrist, perhaps Armageddon is imminent. I told him that if that were the case, as good Christians we should welcome the fact, as it would herald the Second Coming of Christ and the final defeat of evil.

He looked dubious at the idea that the final battle between good and evil would be a good thing, and no wonder. Many evangelists and doomsday cults have used the End of the World as a stick to beat fear into people ("Come into my cave," said the fox to Chicken Little and his friends, "and you shall be safe."). I have even gone so far as to hear some people offer financial plans on how to prosper in the coming evil times, and some advising people to have a good hiding place and stockpile supplies.

This, as the juggler would say, is all balls. When the Last Battle goes down, there will be no place to hide, although you call the mountains to cover you, and no box of soup cans will help you on Judgement Day. At that time the only thing that will avail is being right with your God and Redeemer.

On the other hand, we may be in for a spell of tough times--in other words, business as usual. And as usual, things are going to the dogs, as they always are. And as usual there are decent people who will fight to keep the dogs from pooping on the carpet, tearing up that beloved old book, or barking all night at nothing.

The General Doom (as Shakespeare calls it) may or may not be nigh. But any day (and hard times makes us realize it more than usual) could be our own personal Judgement Day, and we all stand under a sentence of death, date of execution unknown. How, then, should we live? I offer another quote from Anonymous, though many famous people have offered their own form of it:

"Live every day as if you will die tomorrow, but plan for the future as if you will live forever."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Just one of my old drawings of a couple of friends passing the time of day. "Brock" of course is an old word for badger, which is what the fellow with the pipe and tankard is supposed to be.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Can It

I've just read in the news that the 89-year-old creator of the Pringles' can, Dr. Fredric J. Baur, has died, been cremated, and, as per his request, part of his ashes have been buried in a Pringles' can in the Arlington Memorial Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reportedly he considered the can his greatest creation and was proud that it be part of his final resting arrangements. What didn't fit in the can were placed in an ordinary urn. Can and urn share the same plot.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

We Have Met The Detergent Premiums, And They Are Ours

In 1969, Walt Kelly, the creator of the Pogo Possum comic strip, together with animator Chuck Jones of Loony Tunes fame, produced the Pogo Special Birthday Special. To promote it, Walt Kelly himself sculpted six figures of his main characters, which were then offered in various brands of detergent, among them Biz.

My mother, always on a lookout for a bargain and toys for her brood, was over the months that they were available able to get us three characters: Pogo Possum, Churchy laFemme the turtle, and Howland Owl. This was supplemented by our Omi with a spare Pogo from her detergent, thus making up a character each for us four boys, as we were. We loved these toys because they actually looked like their characters (which was rare at the time), because we could switch their heads, and because they were so tough.

Not tough enough, alas. With the carelessness of youth we eventually lost Churchy's head and arms, and Howland first lost the tips of his feathery ears, then his arm, then the top of his head to a gnawing dog. Only Pogo, with his single point of articulation (the neck), survived intact, but one of them was lost to our Poppa's unsentimental cleaning outs.

It was always our ambition, since the first, to get a complete set. Eventually we got a Porkypine from a garage sale, but that was it for a long time. Then eBay came along, and suddenly much seemed possible. Prices ranged from reasonable to unreasonably high, and for a long time my natural caution and unfamiliarity with on-line bidding kept me a pining on-looker.

Just last week I saw a seller offering a complete set, and I went to my friend at Z's Toys and asked him to put in a bid for me. The opening bid was about $5, and I told him I was willing to go up to $60, with shipping. Then I sat back and nervously waited. On Friday I learned we had won. On Saturday I learned the toys were in. Just today I went in at 12:30, and the dream of thirty-nine years was fulfilled, for $46.

The full set is here: Pogo Possum, Albert the Alligator, Porkypine, Howland Owl, Churchy laFemme, and Beauregard Hound. A little aged here and there, a little loose in a joint or two, but then aren't we all since then?