Old Time Radio at OTRCat!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Your Aardvark has arrived. He has been accorded two honors that are wondrous strange.
Firstly, he was quoted in a church bulletin. Honest! (See scan below) The Apostle Paul
is headlining here, but I'll gladly play second banana to him.

Secondly, he has been proclaimed the 2011 Fan Guest of Honor
at Mobicon, the SF con he attends and hucksters at in Mobile, AL
each May.

He promises to be a fair and just tyr...laird of the con, and will
seek to shed as little blood as possible during his reig...tenure.

Noblesse oblige, n'est ce pas?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Please allow an overheated Aardvark this drop of laziness.

Enjoy the show.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday afternoon, The Dread Dormomoo, Loen, and I headed north to Smyrna, TN to revel in Polynesian kitsch with Gothgeek and fam. The Omni Hut is a fifty-year-old tiki restaurant in Middle Tennessee, and is a wonder. The history of the place is found on their website, and I invite you to visit it. As I opened the door, I breathed in the redolence of an early-sixties family restaurant. We went in, saw the South-Seas hostess, who took our party info on a little spiral pad. The small lobby had chairs, a small aquarium with a few fish, and several lovely anemones. Next to the tank was a stack of magazines for those easily bored with the sea life.

We entered the dining room through a beaded curtain, and were politely seated by our waitress. She gave us menus, and took our drinks order. The Omni Hut has existed for fifty years without a liquor license. How have they stayed in business without selling beer and spirits?

Great food, great service...

and BYOB.

Patrons are welcome, nay, invited to bring whatever potent potables they wish. More on this later.

GG recommended the TAHITIAN FEAST:


The appetizers came out on a flaming Pu-Pu tray. with one tray sufficing for three adults (four, if one is prudent to remember that these are, in fact, appetizers) The drinks for our table were iced tea, and Hawaiian Tea, which at $3.50 for a bottomless glass is a delicious steal. It consists of fruit juices, coconut syrup or milk, a cherry, and a paper umbrella (Ooooooooooooh, exotic!) over perfect drug-store soda-counter crushed ice.
It may actually have some tea in it to keep it honest.

It is by all intents a Virgin Daiquiri. This underscores the importance of the BYOB policy, for given a bottle of one's favorite spirit, and the
Hawaiian Tea, one could be well anaesthetized by meal's end. Now, I do not practice public intoxication, nor do I condone such; I merely project probabilities, here. The drinks boy (I pretend I am an adventurer from the '40s) kept all the drinks well filled. Perhaps the Liquids Lad would be better, but I doubt it.)

After the appetizers settled, (and in future, I would settle for the appetizers, and maybe an entree) the meal arrived:
SWEET & PUNGENT PORK, CHICKEN CHOW MEIN, SHRIMP-FRIED RICE. All were lovely, delicious, and also delicious.

But you could have that at any Asian or South Seas dining saloon (I speak with watering tongue slippery-ly in cheek), but the raison, the thing of it all is the tiki ambiance. Tiki masks and carvings festoon the walls, with Day-glo painted tropical flowers, all excited by hidden UV lamps. The big aquarium in the wall of our room was filled with large goldfish and koi, I believe, with the obligatory suckerfish to tidy up the glass. The Polynesian mania of the '40s and '50s lives on in the Omni Hut. Grab your Tiki shirt (available at aardvarktees.com !) and visit the place. The service is equal in attentiveness and competence to the best (real) Japanese restaurant I have frequented. This is by no means a "fine dining" establishment -no putting on airs and discussing Kubrick and Truffaut. It is fun dining in the not-Happy-meal sense, that of friends and family islanding out for an evening, having different nom-noms from normal, and being cared for by an attentive and friendly staff, soaking in the '50s exotica. The background music is Island, but not obtrusive...truly atmospheric.

Please treat yourselves to the Omni Hut sometime. It WILL be a treat.

Friday, June 18, 2010


For your amusement:

(PLEASE watch Miss Hutton's face and movements. What an amazingly fun performance!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Well, the morning after, and the assault on the Constitution continues. Barack Hussein Obama (PBUH) has strongarmed BP execs with demands for a $20 billion-dollar trust fund to be set aside and administered by A Third Party. Beyond the fact that the Obamster does not have (as Neal Boortz put it) authority to demand the set-aside of a roll of toilet paper, much less twenty huge, the prexy's ignorance of business fair takes the breath from me. Here, in the middle of an pollution crisis, we propose to take working funds away from the people who are trying to solve the problem. "But what about the shrimpers?"
BP has responsibility to take care of those whose livelihood has dwindled because of the oil spill- did I forget that BP is also responsible for the spill?

No, but so is the Federal Government, the "regulators" Trans-Oceanic, and likely Dick Cheney's shoe salesman. A veritable slick of groups have some culpability in this. BP must certainly pay its share, do so timely, and pay those legitimately hurt by the Gulf spill. BHO's imperial decree for BP to escrow twenty billions of dollars displays a brazen lack of business sense, which surprises me no end, himself being a Chicago community organizer and all.

The $20B really has nothing to do with the shrimpers, the hoteliers, the restauranteurs or the trash-picker-uppers on the sugar-sand beaches. It is punishment, a fiscal time out for BP. "Go to your room, and give me your allowance money!" When campaign mouth-flapping about hope and change does not suffice, BHOOTUS can be relied upon to resort to his Chicago political roots. Careful, or the president of BP will wake up with an oily pelican head on the pillow next to him.


Monday, June 14, 2010

A Parabolic Tale of Woe

There is a road accident involving three cars: my Aardvan, a doctor's new BMW, and a beater driven by a drunk. The doc gets out to survey the damage. His Beemer is totaled, and he is shaken but unhurt, having been protected by the forty-seven airbags that deployed on impact. The drunk who caused it all is relaxed, unhurt save for some bruising, and his '74 Impala is crumpled but driveable. The Aardvan, apparently built out of cola cans, has shredded places with sharp bits, one of which has nicked the Dread Dormomoo's femoral artery, which is fountaining. I am freaking, and trying to stanch the flow. I happen to see the doc, face contorted in fury, pull out a gun and put an end to the drunk's DUI career.

I have a choice. I can call the cops, and have the doc hauled away for Murder Most Foul, OR, I can call the doctor over, smoking gun still in hand, and have him save my wife with his expertise, and then let jurisprudence take its course.

I know what the White House would do, because they are doing so on the Gulf Coast. Having the Progressive's penchant for focusing on drilling for dollars, they are spending much time and energy extracting bucks from BP, rather than letting them focus on the job at hand, stopping the oil leak.

I have no great love for BP, but they do have expertise that, I believe, could be more fruitfully brought to bear on the problem if BHO would back off, and leave the strong-arming 'til after the faucet is closed.

Then you can bleed 'em dry, 'cos, y'know, all those British pensioners don't really need the BP dividends to get by on. They have the National Health!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So the cries of outrage begin. Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old sailor who attempted to sail around the world solo, ran into equipment malfunctions and had to be rescued, has a cadre of supporters coming to her aid.

The parents should be charged with child endangerment!!! (commentor on NBCSports)

Geraldo has proclaimed her homeschooling parents as "kooks", and divined that she was seeking escape from her parents' control. Where's that Psych degree, G.?

Abby, whom I do not know, even though the Dread Dormomoo and I are part of the same kooky homeschooling thing, is apparently a self-starting ambitious person, with a strong sense of competitiveness. Oh, if only she had used her skills in a meaningful way, like wresting the captain of the football team from the clutches of the head cheerleader. Wait...she would probably be the head cheerleader, if only she had been public-schooled.

Alas, she was homeschooled, and had kooky ideas, ideas above her station, ideas like SAILING AROUND THE FLIPPIN' WORLD ON HER OWN! And she tried it. And she failed. And she wants to try again.

Idiot. She COULD have been hanging around with gang-bangers and drug peddlers in the halls at school, but NO. She and her family think that they are BETTER than everyone else, and that being able to read, and do sums, and navigate the globe have some intrinsic worth. Heck, she probably knows the meaning of 'intrinsic'. Uppity thing.

Kiddies, let me be clear: if you do NOT want your kids to be self-motivated, intelligent, willing and able to take risks and rise above their failures, by all means, do not be a kook.

Send 'em to government schools. I'll guarantee, you won't have to worry about their accomplishing anything out of the ordinary.

Word to your mother.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Your Aardvark has been in the thick of it. We are in our "Christmas season" business-wise, and are just this side of gibbering.

Last weekend we attended Animazement, the wonderful Raleigh convention I have gushed over in years past. We print their convention shirts each year, several hundred of them, and have prodigious dealer room sales, besides. This year, we also did the concert shirts for a band that appeared at the con! Uchu Sentai NOIZ is the band, and we were privileged to do their shirts. Very cool.

The weekend was marred by Fellow Dealers Not With Us.. Frank and Lisa, of Frank's Cool Stuff, purveyors of used anime DVDs, are our normal neighbors. They could not make it this year due to a scheduling conflict. We had Loen, Riatsila, James, Micah, and Your Humble staffing the AardBooth, and we ate well! We re-visited Tir Na Nog, the Irish pub with wonderful food. We were ably served by Victoria, a lovely lass who did a faboo job. We found that we five did not form the critical mass necessary for Maximum Enjoyment. We did not have Frank and Lisa with us, and missed them mightily. Next year in Raleigh!

Ragazzi's in Cary, NC was our Sunday night dinner. They have marvelous Italian food, and creme brulee to boot!

The Animazement staff did their usual outstanding job of putting on the con. Thanks, guys and gals!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I have been a science fiction fan for almost as long as I have memories. I remember "It Came From Beneath the Sea" being shown on TV, along with the Ivan Tors series "The Man and the Challenge". Of course, "SUPERCAR" goes without saying. Later, I became a voracious reader of everything from The War of the Worlds and the SF short stories in "Boys Life" magazine. It wasn't until college that I became introduced to fantasy as a genre.
(I include McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series in that pigeonhole, though she has science elements in the stories. Go ahead and complain.) Lewis, Tolkien, Charles Williams all contributed to my fondness for both types of story. Heinlein was my favorite hard SF author, followed by Bradbury, for his glorious evocative prose. College found me in the clutches of Niven and Pournelle. I did not, however, discover SF fandom until 1980, when I attended my first convention: PhilCon 80. It was our first foray into the world of huckstering (the selling of fannish goodies at a con). It was that which introduced me to the wild and wacky world of SF fandom, and SF conventions (would that be SF Con-dom?)

The Dread Dormomoo has been an artist most of her life, and picked up the airbrush in 1980. We took her t-shirt painting setup all the way from the Grand Strand of SC to Philadelphia, in our little blue Monza wagon. She was a hit, but we learned the quirkiness of SF fans right off while she was painting unicorns and rockets on shirts when a lady came up and asked if DD could paint a portrait of Johnny Mathis on a shirt.

Johnny Mathis??!?

The DD could, and did. Later on at MunchCon, held at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, we had a lass combine her interests by having the saucer of the USS Enterprise, with a unicorn rampant, put on a shirt. Then came the endless string of D&D players who had her paint their game characters on shirts: elves, dwarves, orcs, you name it.

MUCH later, after we began screenprinting our own designs to sell, the guys popped out of the woodwork to fix our shirts, to make them O so much funnier. One of our earliest designs was the "classic":


For those educated after the Seventies, this was a takeoff on the Dick and Jane readers:

See Dick.
See Dick run.
Run, Dick, run.

Now, the helpful souls, usually bearded and stooped, would sonorously intone: "You need to add a fourth line: 'RUN\DAMMIT\RUN'."; never mind that it completely misses the syntax of the original first grade reader quote. Admittedly, that is more annoying than anything, but the modern trend is far worse. The old-school SF cons were built around the science in science fiction. panels about space travel and even time travel abounded.
Today, the shift from science to psy-ence has taken its toll: fans of the "telepathic lesbian were-seal"-type stories are numerous, as are their preferred plotlines, shaky on the hard sciences, strong in agnostic or a-theist mysticism. One of the last SF cons I attended featured at least one author of that ilk, and in the dealer room (one is not a huckster any more) there was a nice lady with a webcam, and "video aura" software, which would visualise your chakras. (Now, I remember a couple of conventions years ago where the guys had a Polaroid camera with a diffraction grating over the lens, which gave you a lovely rainbow "aura" from the backlight. Ooooooh, lookit my aura!) This modern version spits out a printed book with your image, and various interpretations of the picture. The lady then gave a 15-20 minute counseling session. The customer paid real money to a total stranger to advise him about his life. Another woman, a guest of the con, offered Tarot readings to the infidel faithful.

Hmmmm...let us step back and examine the context. These women are not advising Heads of State, nor the Crown Princes of Europe. They are doing fortunetelling at a science fiction convention. A small one. In the huckster room.

Current science fiction fandom has abandoned its science for credulity, its Western skepticism for non-theistic open-mindedness. The "thump" you hear is its collective brain falling out.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The WiFi at our aging Holiday Inn was not as reliable as some, so reportage about our triumphal Animazement sojourn will be up tonight sometime. I hope this explanation protects me from Murder Most Vile!