Slayer cake

We went to an estate sale recently where there was one of those sad progressions of cookbook libraries that started out with Fun Holiday Cookies and Cakes For Every Occasion from the ’60s and ended up with No Sugar Desserts and Diabetes Busters from the ’90s. In honor of the lady of the house’s fun times, I went home with the Wilton Pictorial Encyclopedia of Modern Cake Decorating from 1969.

My friend Sally asked me what I was going to make first, and I had to reply that I had no intention of making anything in the book. I bought it solely for the pictures. There are a lot of really elaborate and colorful wedding cakes and cakes shaped like pianos and very advanced sugar flower techniques, and there isn’t a thing in here that I would actually be able to pull off.

But the thing I noticed most about the book was the jarring shift in tone throughout the pages. At a certain point I realized that a lot of the perceived tonal shift was due to the photos either being in color or black and white.

Take, for instance, the Bear Skiing On The Roof Pink House Fantasia:

compared with this terrified bear/mouse creature being eaten alive while running through a field:

I’m sure he’ll be fine, but he doesn’t look happy. Polar bear about to jump off the roof seems much more dangerous if you think about it, but gosh if I don’t want to jump into that picture and hang out for a while.

What about these dolls?


It’s a toss-up for me as to which one I would prefer, but the mood couldn’t be more different between them. It’s Laugh In vs. Clive Barker in confectionary form. Let’s move on to clowns.

If you read this site frequently, you know that I like clowns and am annoyed by the proliferation in modern pop culture of “scary clowns.” Scary clowns are a tired cliche and are kind of unfair to actual skilled acrobatic clowns who can juggle and do magic and would be able to make a whole heck of a lot of kids happy if the kids hadn’t been conditioned to the “clowns are terrifying” point of view by their lame relatives. But still, there are some unsavory clowns around. I will admit that.

Take these guys who are creepy crawling along the perimeter of this cake:

They may be preparing to sneak up on someone, or they may be recovering from a drunken face-plant; either way, they do seem to be clowns to watch out for. On the other hand, I’d much prefer meeting all three of them in a dark alley if the alternative were:


There are a lot more examples like the ones above, but I’m going to wrap this up with the cakes celebrating violence and destruction. If you were to choose, would you prefer to adorn your party table with:


I guess it depends what kind of party it is. I never knew George Washington could seem so goth.


We humans are just getting too ridiculous and horrible. The day looms when the other primates get sick of our shit. They’re gonna steal our crowns and throw us down the garbage chute. It’s coming soon. Can you feel it?

I can feel it. Panels 2 Ponder feels it. Check them out online for more wisdom, or maybe even buy their book. 

Published in: on November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Please be carful

My friend Mike encountered these warning flyers at the Old Zoo the other day.


I’m glad someone is putting up warnings, because I for one do not want to encounter a flaming baby or a ginger police demon. The most menacing thing I’ve ever seen at the Old Zoo at midnight is a roving gang of Pokemon Go hunters, but I don’t think I should press my luck.


It just stopped raining and I don’t consider myself particularly macho.

Photos by the ever-adventurous Mike Biggie

A cup of kindness yet

2017, I’m trying not to burden you with a lot of expectations. Google autofill gave me “worse” when I typed in “2017 will be…”, and even when I typed in “2017 will be better,” the first result was an op-ed entitled “2017 Will Probably Be Terrible,” accompanied by a Wal-Mart ad.

I don’t know what to do here. 2017, am I cursing you to mediocrity by not pushing you to be the best you can be? Or am I putting too much pressure on you if I do that, dooming you to failure? Oh, 2017. What will you be?


Published in: on December 31, 2016 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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You may think that this is the end…

… well, it isn’t. It isn’t the end. Fancy Notioners, I’m old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan got elected President, and there were a lot of people then who thought that he was going to end the world. Hollywood cowboy with an itchy nuclear trigger finger in the midst of the Cold War, restarting the nuclear arms race and joking about bombing the Soviet Union. Scaring the shit out of the Soviets, scaring the shit out of Americans, scaring the shit out of the planet.

But we got through that, and the world didn’t end. And whatever happens tonight, we’ll get through it. Take a goldang deep breath. And you know what? Even if you’re reading this some hours after I posted it and things have already taken a decided change for the worse, you can snuggle up in your bunker and enjoy Wilbur Hall performing “Stars and Stripes Forever” on the bicycle pump:

If you have time, go ahead and watch the rest of the movie; you’ll be rewarded with bits featuring Bing Crosby, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, and a drunk guy singing to a fish, amongst other things. If the hordes are approaching and you’re in a rush, you can skip to a weird and suggestive contortionist dance here, a rather violent romantic song here, and the ultra-patriotic (I guess?) Melting Pot show-stopper here. Three cheers.

Etiquette & superstition: unwanted fires around the domicile

Fancy Notioners, I must beg your forgiveness for being absent this past week and a half. I am tempted to lay the blame on this little eight-acre fire


that broke out on Sunday in the lot next door to us


(yes, that is our garden hose trickle and yes, I have titled that photo “Impotence”) and melted all wifi and cable connections to the residents of our fair hill,


said wifi connectivity only returning to us today. But the truth is that I had already been quite tardy in posting by the time that fire broke out, so I really have no excuse. Please do forgive me.

ETIQUETTE: A reader wrote in to Miss Manners some time ago inquiring about the proper attire for fleeing an unexpected trash fire in or around one’s domicile, seeing as how said reader noted that such occurrences happened with some regularity in his apartment building, and invariably required interactions with his neighbors.

Miss Manners replied that events of this sort should be considered “come as you are”-type affairs, and I must say this is a relief. I now know that the neighbor in our driveway on Sunday exhorting Benny to put on a shirt and me to get something on my feet was merely speaking out of concern for our safety and not from disgust at our loathsome conflagration outfits.

SUPERSTITION: Making sure your household electrical wiring is up to date and that all dry brush is cleared from within 200 feet of your home is all well and good, but if you really want to protect your domicile, take the proper steps: place an adders skin in the rafters, put some dry seaweed in a frame on the mantel, and hang an egg laid on Ascension Day from the roof and you should be all set.

First photo above via ABC7; second photo by Benny while he was protecting our property; third photo of the shed on the empty lot that the creepy neighbor kids can’t smoke pot in anymore by me

Words of the day for Tuesday, November 24th

Thanksgiving dinner tends to have its share of things that you absolutely positively are going to be served whether you like them or not. Rather than falsely declare an allergy to a particular food item (please don’t do that), perhaps you could claim a phobia*. Examples:

MeleagrisphobiaMeleagrisphobia is the fear of turkeys. I believe it’s more a phobia of the live guys running around than of a giblet on your plate, but there is little chance that anybody at your table is going to know this.

No problem with the main course? Perhaps you have

Potnonomicaphobiapotnonomicaphobia, which is a fear of potato products, particularly mashed potatoes. Please note that this is incredibly rare. Most people with a potato-related phobia tend to fear the eyes on old potatoes if a simple Google search is to be believed. Now that I’m thinking about that one, I might have it. I don’t think I can bear to even search to find a term for it. That’s… oh, why did I even find that? Ugh. Moving along.

Are you embracing your inner vampire and trying to avoid garlic? Declare yourself

Alliumphobic(1)alliumphobic and be done with it. Or perhaps you’re fine until the dessert course and for whatever reason you cannot bear to eat a slice of pumpkin pie.

Cucurbitophobia will get you out of your predicament far more quickly than a claim of gluten intolerance or sugar aversion ever will.

Perhaps the thing you know that is going to be served that you absolutely cannot swallow is Uncle Kirby’s avowal of love for all things Donald Trump. Just stay home, declare a sudden bout of

Allodoxaphobia (the fear of opinions), and order yourself a nice pizza or something.

*Actually, don’t do this either. All you faux-coulrophobics out there can suck it.

Pharaoh’s tomb

I clearly remember the day Elvis died. I was a little kid playing with my older brother’s friends on our bouncy tree swing in the front yard, and Mike Lowe came over and told us the news. I responded with something to the effect of “I’m happy that old fat man is dead.” By the time I was in high school, I came to the light and finally appreciated him. And now, at this point in my life, I find myself alternately disgusted and heartbroken by him. He seems like the saddest monster America made in the 20th century. Anyway, I found myself in Memphis on this road trip I’m on and really, I found that I couldn’t not go to Elvis’ last home.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I did Graceland right today. All I’ve heard my entire life is how garish and how extreme and how oversized everything is at Graceland, and it didn’t seem that way to me. Maybe I saw this too late – I’m four years older and probably just as fat as Elvis was when he died, bloated and unhappy on a toilet. Maybe I’ve seen too many of his decorating inspirations – for sheer boldness, the Gobbler and Madonna Inn have Graceland beat in a minute. Maybe something happened to me when I came across this place prior to visiting Graceland:

I don’t know. I came out of Graceland with a very different feeling than “this is a garish place.” Here’s what I noticed at Graceland.

Number one, nobody cared what faces Benny or I made on the tour. Everybody on the tour was saddled with headphones and an iPad yoked around their neck.

Next, Gladys Presley was a goddamn underappreciated artist. Here is her bathroom:

Look at the floor tile. Look at the wall tile. Look at that poodle wallpaper. SHE DESIGNED THAT.

Goddamn. Hats off to you, lady. Moving on.

Blown-glass clowns. I would have these if I could find some. Picture is blurry because I think I was mad I do not have these clowns.

I guess I’m going to have to sell a billion records to get those clowns. Oh wait, people don’t do that anymore. Maybe I’ll just have to check out some more estate sales.

Okay, now here is this guy:

Why did they not explain this guy on the tour? I’m only asking because a smaller version of him showed up in the special archives:

Explain the white monkey, John Stamos on my iPad headphone interactive yoke. Oh, I think I forgot to explain: John Stamos narrates most of the iPad tour. It’s weird. I don’t understand the association because I thought he was all Team Mike Love*, and Mike Love seems like the anti-Elvis to me. I know it wasn’t Mike Love on television when Elvis shot his TV set, but it should have been.

The other person speaking on the iPad headphone interactive tour was Lisa Marie Presley, and I’m not sure if this had been done on purpose, but every quote from her seemed to be a terror memory. This terror eventually seeped into the printed signage. Somebody other than me has to have noticed that, nestled amongst the adorable pink striped Jeeps,

there was this placard:

This creepy undercurrent. It was not only in Lisa Marie’s quotes, it was in little corners about the property:

It’s not the boat motor in the corner, it’s the boat motor in the corner with all the hooks in the ceiling. The boat motor and the hooks in the corner of the building that they also used as a shooting range:

And then:

elvisfeathersSOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE FEATHERS. I don’t know. Maybe that’s not sinister, but what is it?

There was more, but I just don’t know how to put it all together. I have some sort of theory brewing that involves the Peabody ducks, but it’s really kind of sketchy at the moment. If I had the fortitude and wallet to go back to Graceland tomorrow, I’d try to flesh this out further. As it stands, I think we need to hit the road and forget all of this.

*Mike Love, not Mike Lowe. I know it can be confusing.


The hopping dead

It’s the most important time of the year over at Bunnybury,

which means all the residents are out in their finery.

All the residents.

They’re even braving the crocodile-infested pond to celebrate the holiday, these bunnies.

But they might want to be on alert, and not because of the zombie in their midst.

That particular zombie in their midst is benign, although some of his followers are a bit rabid at times. No, I’m talking about something I’ve been watching just down the street from them. I first saw this guy around Halloween last year

and then I saw this guy:

As of this week, I noticed a third one… and they seem to be joining forces.

Watch out, bunnies. These guys look like they’re ready to burn a church down, at the very least.

Word of the day for Wednesday, April 23rd

You know, I always thought that Murine was just a generic brand name. Murine eye drops. Murine ear drops. Murine. Doesn’t mean anything, just sounds soothing. But today I found out what - Glitter Graphics

murine means. Murine is something that is of, like or related to a rat or mouse. And boom – a Murine ear wax removal system suddenly doesn’t sound soothing at all.

Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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