So, we visited my parents this weekend. Went to the Auto swapmeet, the Museum of Man, the Santee Drive-in & got a small box of items from my youth. At the bottom of the box I found this pin...Can you make out the sword, wizard hat, bat and ghost?
This item must have been made in 1982-83. I was a 7 year old D&D nut...Anyhow I went to check my email this morning and bumped into some saddening news. The co-creator of my long lost love had passed on. Gary Gygax died March 4th. His heath had been ailing for quite sometime...Here's a few of my favorites from my monster manual...
I am as derelict as any opium reveler’s after-dream and in this wizened condition I’m aware of only the shrill din of an entire city cracking. Maybe I sit too close to the sheer brink of ruin, and lunacy, and guzzling a couple of dozen shots of espresso - this morning’s tomfoolery- only raises the bedlam quotient. Nonetheless, early this afternoon I found my way to Amoeba, where now I’m standing, mostly decaffeinated, on my desk, peering out of my office window into the anxious mirrored eyes of the CNN building across the way, looming bluntly above the squat Hollywood landscape. Below me, a rush of emergency vehicles flies down Cahuenga, and through the Sunset Blvd intersection.
Something is going on
somewhere, and probably something big, but do I really need to know? During this whole dull, dark, and luckless day, when clouds hung oppressively low outside, they hung even lower in here. Working alone, pricing yet another dreary stretch of 1980’s 45’s, I found myself longing for something more; more grand, more scintillating, more psychedelic, funky or even French! Maybe Australian! Maybe tomorrow … I now know what it was, what first caught my eye and what originally troubled me about CNN’s massive edifice; a sense of insufferable gloom pervades its spirit, like Poe’s House of Usher, grappling with its own shadows and history and treacheries. And as I scan its glass façade, I see just a bit of me waving back in the reflection: is there more here, more than the eye can see? If questioning brings knowledge, and knowledge brings dread, what’s next?
And that’s why I thought you might like to see all these record company 45 sleeves from around the globe. And now, maybe, its time to return to the real world, and hold off on that brutal splendor blather for a while... then again, I just started reading the Cask of Amontillado by Poe, " ... thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge ..."
Gary Gygax the co-creator of the first role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons, died yesterday (March 4th, 2008) at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at age 69 after years of suffering from health problems. He recently had suffered an abdominal aneurysm. He is survived by his wife and six children.
Gygax, who began life as an insurance underwriter and later was also an author, writing several fantasy books, will be best remembered for being the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. Reportedly part of the inspiration came to him in the '60s after getting interested in playing war-themed board games.
Then in 1974, along with co-creator Dave Arneson, he designed Dungeons and Dragons, little thinking that it would go on to become such an incredibly important game and part of youth-culture, and have such a major impact on the video game landscape for years to come, inspiring a slew of video games, books and movies.
Dustin, the funny, smart-ass turkey puppet character, is already a major television and recording star in his native Ireland but last week when the foul-mouthed turkey with a strong Dublin accent won the televised national Irish Eurovision qualifier music contest with his entry "Irelande Douze Pointe," many feathers were ruffled - with cries of protest ranging from it made a "mockery of the Eurovision" to it had been an "insult" to both the honor of the Emerald Isle and, more importantly, to the hard work and real talent of the other five (serious human) contestants who had also participated in the hope of going on to represent Ireland at the Eurovision semi-final in two months.
Since decades before American Idol and the X-Factor and shows like that, the Eurovision Song Contest has been in existence. But for many years it has been accused of becoming a bit of a joke itself, with countries accused of voting out of favoritism for neighboring nations rather than for talented singer/songwriter/performers. When the puppet character Dustin recently won the Irish contest with his song "Irelande Douze Pointe" it became a front page news story over in Ireland, dividing the country into those for and those against. Bob Geldolf (of the Boomtown Rats and Live Aid fame) came to Dustin's defense and said it would be nothing short of "rank poultryism" should "one of the greatest talents this country has ever produced" fail to be selected to represent "our glorious musical heritage" on the world stage, according to the Irish Times.
Others continue to see it as a "mockery" and question why Dustin was in the contest in the first place. But despite all the controversy, the decision to select Dustin was defended by the chairman of the judging panel, television producer Bill Hughes, who in a press statement said, "We did think seriously about it but once we heard it and we all laughed so much, we decided it was worth including." The video clip of Dustin and his crew performing "Irelande Douze Pointe," which is chock-a-block with witty inside Irish jokes including a public apology for Riverdance, performed on RTE Television in Limerick last week, is above. And in May Dustin will perform the song again in the Eurovision semi-finals in Serbia (the last Eurovision song contest winning country).