Real Housewives Of Gotham City

…they are a VERY strange bunch

 

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The Doclopedia #1,293

Strange Bandanas: The Solid Orange One

I own hundreds of bandanas. Many of them have strange stories connected to them. Here is one…

The solid orange bandana has no design on it, being just a bright orange color. I got it in a Woolworth’s department in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1993. For the next few years, there was nothing unusual about it. Then, one night, I absentmindedly left it sitting on a shelf next to a radio that I forgot to turn off. It sat there for two weeks before I found it. Although the radio’s volume had been turned down to barely audible at close range, the bandana had been exposed to two weeks of straight college radio and had somehow absorbed an enormous knowledge of many types of music.

The result of that is that the solid orange bandana plays a sort of movie soundtrack when I wear it. This music is heard by anyone within 50 feet of me and can change with whatever I am doing. While this is, as you might expect, very cool, it can also cause problems. Since the music changes with my mood as well as my actions, it sometimes gives away how I’m feeling inside. This has gotten me slapped by more than one woman and has pissed off quite a few people I know.

I don’t wear this bandana much anymore, unless I need an ego boost. Nothing like your own theme music to pump up your ego.

Life’s A Long Song

…but the tune ends to soon for us all

 

The following three entries are about alternate world versions of my friend Jeff Mackintosh, a totally swell guy from Canada who recently lost his fight with cancer. Now, I could have written something sad and serious that goes well with the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes, but that is neither how I roll here on the Doclopedia, nor how Jeff would have wanted it. I just wish I could have finished these when he could have read them. Here’s to you, Jeff.

The Doclopedia #1,290

Jeff Mackintosh: International Superspy

Wherever there are evil plans to be stopped, madmen to be dealt with, hired goons to be calmly shot, martinis to be sipped and beautiful women to be seduced, you’ll find Jeff Mackintosh, secret agent for Canadian Intelligence.

Recruited into the Service at a young age, Jeff soon proved himself a fast learner when it came to tracking down foreign agents, escaping from deathtraps and unhooking a woman’s bra with one hand while shooting commies with his other. He also scored top of his class in Looking Cool, Witty Quips, and Disarming Bombs With Only Seconds Left.

Jeff has saved Canada and the rest of the Free World so many times that secret agents all over the world now refer to doing so as “Jeffing it”. Evil dictators fear him as they do nothing else. Rumor has it that a former leader of North Korea actually died from a heart attack when he misheard a cook talking about a load of Mackintosh apples arriving that day.

When he is not saving the world, Jeff enjoys driving insanely cool cars, eating gourmet food and looking damned good in a well tailored suit.

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The Doclopedia #1,291

Jeff Mackintosh: Rock Star

Are you ready to rock your asses off?” is the line that Jeff Mackintosh yells out before every concert given by his band, The Jeffsters. Formed in 1990 with, oddly enough, three other guys named either Jeff or Geoff, the band later added a keyboardist, Tom (AKA “NotJeff”), and started touring, as they put it, “every hole in the wall bar, tavern & saloon in Canada”. They also played at many high school dances and a couple of weddings. On a good paying night, the band could sleep in a tiny fleabag motel room.

After three years of non-stop touring in Canada, the band headed south and toured the United States. There were more gigs and the pay was better, but the best part of the tour was when they got a contract to do an album for the Faultline label out of Los Angeles. The album itself ended up having lukewarm sales, but the guys did get a Top 30 hit off of it with “Canadian Beaver”, a song that had little to do with flat tailed rodents.

With the success of that song, the band got a two record deal with A&M and their second album “Big Mike” (because it showed a big microphone on the cover), had 3 top ten hit songs and went gold. The third album was even more successful. The rest is history.

On stage, Jeff is famous for his long curly hair, skin tight leather pants and fancy guitar work. He is also famous for inviting young ladies onto both the stage and the tour bus. Groupies always remark what a nice guy he is, usually with a naughty giggle.

It should also be known that Jeff and the band donate large amounts of money to Canadian charities. Every year they do at least 5 benefit shows.

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The Doclopedia #1,292

Jeff Mackintosh: Product of SCIENCE!

Yes, that is Jeff Mackintosh over there. Yes, THE Jeff Mackintosh. Know him? Hell, lady, I was there when they took him out of the tank! Boy, what a day that was. See, he was physically 10 years old, but we couldn’t get him past age 2 mentally until we decanted him. Let me tell you, a giant sized 2 year old…see, he was about 1.5 meters tall and weighed around 80 pounds…is no fun to deal with. He was upset and yelling “NO!” and tossing technicians around like they were ragdolls. Finally, Mr & Mrs Mackintosh, his parents, stepped in and darned if he didn’t calm right down. Oh, he did crack two of his dad’s ribs hugging him, but it was an accident.

Yeah, his parents gave him to us as a newborn, so the Canadian Science Institute could try out Project X on him. See, we knew it wouldn’t hurt him, but truth to tell, we thought we’d just fix a couple of small birth defects and enhance his strength. Shows you what we knew. By the time he was in the tank an hour, readings were going every which way. He was growing fast and we had to power everything down to about 10% just to have a handle on it. We plugged in the brain to brain interface, hooked the Mackintosh’s up and let them raise a baby from 1 day old to 2 years in about a week. Of course, he grew much faster physically, but once he was out of the tank, he went back to normal aging and caught up to the 10 year mental level in about 2 months.

Now look at him, all grown up and as strong as 5 men and smarter than any 20. He heals up really fast, too, and has senses better than many animals. Pity he declined the adamantium claws, but we knew that was a long shot anyway. Did I mention he can see in the dark? Well, he can!

What does he do? Why, lady, he fights crime and terrorists and makes scientific discoveries and all sorts of other stuff. Tonight, he’ll be giving a talk about that new solar reactor he designed that they’re building out in Alberta. That thing will power half the province, you wait and see!

Hey, he’s looking this way. Why don’t you walk up and say hello? Heck, even the Man of SCIENCE! Might need a date tonight.

Magnetic Super Gloves

…they let you do super magnetic stuff!

The Doclopedia #1,288

The Alphabet: Z is for…

Zaan Beasts…are a type of carnivorous night predator found on Sklesis 3 in the Earth 6-H reality. They are about the size of a rhinoceros, but much lighter and faster. They look very much like a cross between a dire wolf and a crocodile. Males are smaller than females.

Zaan Beasts hunt in packs of 4 to 9 adults, with up to 6 young following them in order to learn hunting skills. When a kill is made, the young are allowed to feed first. Favored prey include grelks, leapers, mud cattle and proks. The only known predator of the Zaan Beasts are Greater Borgogs, but then, they prey upon pretty much whatever they want.

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The Doclopedia #1,289

The Alphabet: Z is for…

Z Dimension…was the first fully sensory immersive computer game released on Earth 1-D. It came out on June 2nd, 2023 and had 4.25 million units pre-ordered. It sold another 3 million units the first day. By the end of the week, 11 million units had been sold.

The game came with a full body suit that allowed players to see, feel, hear, smell and taste everything in the game, which was an open world fantasy setting designed by dozens of the world’s best known tabletop RPG designers. Players loved it and the critics raved about it.

At this point, you might be thinking that something bad happened, but it didn’t. Tens of millions of gamers played the game for an average of 2.5 hours a day with no ill effects and today, 5 years later, it is still the #1 full immersion game out there.

Of course, the inhabitants of the real Z Dimension, who were invaded by millions of humans posing as fantasy characters once a big enough gestalt developed to open a transdimensional portal, might think otherwise.

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Rocket G-Men! Episode 3: Nazi Lap Dancers!

…I just misread that as Nazi LARP dancers

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The Doclopedia #1,286

The Alphabet: Y is for…

YOW!…was, depending upon who you ask, either a moment of genius in television programming or the worst fuckup in television history. There truly seems to be no middle ground.

In 1969, the ABC television network was a distant 4th in the ratings behind CBS, NBC and the DuMont Network, which folded the next year. It was rumored that in areas where people could only get clear reception of an ABC station, they listened to the radio instead.

Figuring the network had nothing to lose, the guys at the top let young Albert Collier produce a 2 hour comedy/variety show to premier on Sunday nights from 9 to 11. Albert went right to work on it.

The show he created was YOW! And it was described as an “improv comedy/rock concert/topical humor version of an underground comic on television”. The cast was huge, 45 people, many of them hippies and unknown actors. Very often, most of them were stoned or tripping during taping. The show also used animated bits by many underground cartoonists. Many of those clips were crude and far left leaning politically. There were fake commercials and real commercials done live by the aforementioned stoned cast. On any given show, 6 to 8 rock bands would perform. It was the most chaotic thing television had ever seen.

Predictably, young people loved it and older folks hated it. After the first episode, many ABC affiliates in the South and Mid-West refused to show it. In most of the rest of the country, the ABC affiliates could not afford two hours of dead air or a Baptist televangelist, so they ran it. In political arenas from town halls to the U.S. Senate, it was argued that maybe this hippie counterculture show was somehow Un-American. Hearings were held! Speeches were given! Protests happened!

By episode 5, ABC had seen it’s Sunday night ratings skyrocket. People were tuning in just to see what the hubbub was all about. This increase in ratings caused the ABC brass to let Albert Collier do a bunch of promotional bits for the show that he scattered all throughout the rest of ABC’s prime time schedule. These caught people’s notice and gave the network’s entire schedule a boost. ABC moved into the third spot in the ratings and narrowed the gap between it and NBC.

The nationwide ruckus caused by the show reached it’s peak with episode 14, the Christmas episode. That show got complaints from every religious organization in the United States and a few in Canada & Mexico. There were violent clashes between fans of the show and people who hated it. In two cases, the National Guard had to step in. ABC announced that the New Year’s Eve episode would be the last…but it was going to be live and three hours long. The nation held it’s breath.

Knowing which side their bread was buttered on, most sponsors stayed clear of YOW!, but a few brave ones signed on for the final episode. As it turned out, they chose well.

The final show was full of well known actors, musicians, bands, writers, poets and others. Beyond the wildest imaginings of both fans and haters, it was much crazier and outrageous than normal. There were even a few brief moments of nudity by both sexes. At one point, it even showed two men kissing.

It was broadcast live from New York, where it took place in 7 locations around town. The total live audience for the show was around 35,000. The television audience was about 8.5 million, not counting an estimated 2 million more that watched and lied about it. When it was all over, ABC was hit with fines from the FCC, lawsuits by the score and condemnation in churches big and small.

They were also the ratings leader for that night by 3 to 1 over CBS.

In the end, months later, most of the lawsuits were thrown out of court, preachers found new threats to the moral fabric of American Youth and the Supreme Court actually ruled in ABC’s favor versus the FCC. When Fall rolled around, ABC presented a whole slate of shows that were cop dramas, sitcoms, nighttime soap operas, westerns and sci-fi series. But many of them had an edge to them and some of the old YOW! cast showed up in bit parts. ABC moved into 3rd place right behind NBC and stayed there for years.

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The Doclopedia #1,287

The Alphabet: Y is for…

Young Men Of Mars…is a youth service organization that formed in 2024 to do good works in Burroughs, Welles and Bradbury domes. This could be anything from planting trees in parks to putting on pancake breakfasts in honor of the farmers of Robinson dome. They also do a regular show on Marsnet. The show includes everything from man on the street interviews to high school plays to local news.

In 2049, to celebrate their 25th year, the Young Men Of Mars had a statue dedicated to them. You can see it in Carl Sagan Park, right across from the entrance to the zoo.

Sassy Voles Ridiculed My Wombat

…and made it cry

 

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The Doclopedia #1,284

The Alphabet: X is for…

XinGaNox…is the name of the Great Hero of the Cluur People of Altair 5. Born in 1399, XinGaNox became an ordained Most Holy Warrior in 1420, during the Cluur/Hwiffa War. Many infidels fell before his forces, often minus their primary head removed. It is said that when the Hwiffa of H’fwa City heard XinGaNox was coming, the entire population converted to the True Religion and welcomed the Great Hero with open manipulator forelegs.

When the war was over, XinGaNox went on to rule the Northern K’Telk continent for 35 years. He mated with an estimated 593 females and sired well over 7,000 young. When he died, an estimated 25,000 Faithful flew into the Cuuv Cuul volcano to honor him with their deaths.

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The Doclopedia #1,285

The Alphabet: X is for…

Xellent Pizza…exists in at least 300 realities and in most of them it is a pretty decent pizza joint. However, in a few realities, it is something more.

On Earth 40-A, Xellent Pizza is a favorite hangout for the students of Hobart’s School for Young Mages. In the basement, behind several old pinball machines, is a secret entrance into the Castle of Dread, which students are banned from visiting.

On Earth 19-K, the pizza is incredible and so are the super powered clientele. Both heroes and villains eat here and everybody obeys the strict no fighting rule, lest they be kicked out and not allowed back for a year.

The Xellent Pizza of Earth 6-B is located in Denver, Colorado and is at a nexus point for three Ley Lines. Practitioners of magic, UFO hunters, cryptid hunters, cryptids and just generally strange folks are a common sight here.

Monster Manual Volume 15: Really Nasty Kitchen Tool Golems

…that Cheese Grater Golem is terrifying

 

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The Doclopedia #1,282

The Alphabet: W is for…

Werewolves Of Milwaukee…, a subject the state of Wisconsin on Earth 1-K wishes everyone else would forget.

In 1983, people in and around Milwaukee began reporting “dog people” or “werewolf” sightings in rural areas or in city parks. Howls were also heard. The police pretty much wrote it off as pranks until a dead and ravaged deer was found in a city park. Two days later, a pair of terrified women in a residential neighborhood reported being chased into the home of a neighbor by a “wolfman”. Try as they might, local police could never catch the creatures and panic began to set in.

The sightings dropped way off during the winter, but resumed again in early spring of 1984. There was vandalism, animal deaths and several non-fatal shootings caused by terrified citizens. The FBI was called in.

In May of 1984, an anonymous tip lead FBI agents to an old barn several miles outside of Milwaukee. They found werewolf costumes and a map of all of the incidents. Setting up surveillance, it was less than a day before they caught 5 boys entering the barn. All 5, plus two others, were arrested and charged with a long list of crimes.

Despite many of the citizens of Milwaukee wanting the young men to go to prison, they instead were sentenced to A: apologize on local television, B: remain in county jail until they were 18 years old and C: once they turned 18, join the United States Marine Corps for a full 6 years. Failure to enlist would mean doing 6 years in state prison. All 7 of the boys joined the Marines.

Fun Fact: The leader of the Werewolves of Milwaukee was young Scott Walker, who would do his time in the Marine Corps and then move to Iowa, where he became a sanitation engineer and never again broke the law.

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The Doclopedia #1,283

The Alphabet: W is for…

Wandering Megadroids…are a very rare, but exceedingly dangerous threat to citizens of the Solar Federation in the Earth 6-D reality. Left over from the Corporate Wars (2070-2084), these large and dangerous droids wander both the Inner and Outer System and upon activation attempt to destroy all human life and habitation they encounter.

The most recent Megadroid attack happened on July 16th, 2148, when a Mk III Kanamura Dragondroid attacked New Chicago on Mars. Despite being destroyed by the Martian Defense Force, the droid totally destroyed a 100 acre Ag Dome, killing 59 people and injuring 123 others.

The Solar Federation put a bounty om Megadroids in 2099. Since then, 33 of them have been destroyed. Conservative estimates say there are around 50 still out there somewhere.

Tales Of Interplanetary Fishing

…in this issue: Venusian Walleyes!

The Doclopedia #1,280

The Alphabet: V is for…

Valley Of The Undead…is a location on Earth 4-B, which is a post apocalypse world that was ravaged by supernatural creatures, mostly the undead.

The valley in question is in India and runs 90 miles long by an average of 20 miles wide. For reasons unknown, these undead did not die off when the Red Ravager was destroyed in Japan in 2061. Instead, they continue to inhabit the valley in great numbers. Estimates of 100,000 or more are probably correct. Almost all of them are corporeal undead.

Most of the undead found are zombies, ghouls and lesser vampires, but it is rumored that ghasts, draugr, certain yokai and even a lich exist. While the ghouls & ghasts feed upon the many corpses found in the area, the vampires must lure humans into the valley in order to feed. This happens more often than you might think.

The few remaining humans who know of the valley and care to think much about it suspect that the undead cannot leave due to the lack of supernatural power in the rest of the world. They are probably right.

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The Doclopedia #1,281

The Alphabet: V is for…

Valerie Mallory…is an Earth 5-A scientist, the Carl Sagan/Bill Nye/Neil deGrasse Tyson of her world. She is also most likely the smartest person on the planet.

A multidisciplinary scientist with doctorates in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Valerie has written 24 books explaining various areas of science. She also hosts a weekly television talk show, “Science This Week”, where she discusses the week’s science and tech news with everyone from scientists to actors to school children. The series is just starting it’s 25th year (current year: 1995) and has won 34 Emmy awards. It is seen in 45 countries.

Because of Valerie Mallory and her championing of females in science and technology, there are far more female scientists on her Earth than on ours and the first human to land on Mars in 1993 was a woman. Her first words? “Hey, Dr. Mallory! This one’s for you!”