November 21, 2004
Harry Lampert, creator of the Flash, is dead
The Flash was one of my very most favorite comic books when I was a boy.
Harry Lampert drew the Flash when he burst onto newstands in January 1940.
He also did issue No. 2, then quit because he preferred drawing humorous subjects.
He received $150 for his work.
To his regret, he didn't save any of his early drawings.
That's a shame, because a near-mint copy of Flash Comics No. 1 (above) recently sold for $350,000.
Lampert died on November 13 in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 88.
Here's Margalit Fox's obituary, from the November 16 New York Times.
- Harry Lampert Dies at 88; Helped Create the Flash
Harry Lampert, an illustrator who in 1940 first drew the winged-footed, faster-than-light superhero known as the Flash for DC Comics and a half-century later was rediscovered by a new generation of fans, died on Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla.
He was 88.
A resident of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Lenox, Mass., he had lived in Roslyn, N.Y., for many years.
The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage, his family said.
Bursting onto the comic-book scene in January 1940, the Flash was among the first superheroes of the genre's golden age. (Superman had appeared just two years earlier.)
Written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Mr. Lampert, the character made his debut in the anthology "Flash Comics," published by All-American Publications, an offshoot of DC Comics.
Mr. Lampert received $150 for his work, The Washington Post reported in 1996.
By day, Mr. Lampert's hero was a mild-mannered scientist named Jay Garrick.
But as the result of a chemistry experiment gone horribly awry, Garrick could summon the power to move at blinding speed.
As the Flash, he blitzed about in a red-and-blue outfit emblazoned with a lightning bolt, his winged helmet and shoes invoking the Greek god Hermes.
He fought very bad men, among them the Thinker, the Fiddler and the Shade.
The character was an immediate success, but Mr. Lampert preferred drawing humorous subjects. (His gag cartoons appeared in Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post and elsewhere.)
After two issues of the Flash, he was replaced.
He went on to a second career as the owner of the Lampert Agency, an advertising concern, and a third as a bridge writer and teacher of contract bridge.
Harry Lampert was born in New York City on Nov. 3, 1916.
He began cartooning as a teenager, inking Popeye and Betty Boop for the animator Max Fleischer.
He taught at the School of Visual Arts from 1947 to 1951 and created several other comic-book characters, including the King and Red, White and Blue.
Mr. Lampert is survived by his wife, the former Adele Birnbaum; a daughter, Karen Akavan of Plainview, N.Y.; and two grandsons.
In the 1990's, with the newfound respectability of the graphic novel, Mr. Lampert's work was rediscovered by young admirers.
He became a fixture at comic-book conventions, selling new drawings of the Flash for hundreds of dollars.
But to his regret, he had not saved the originals.
According to the Comics Guaranty Corporation, a Florida company that certifies comics before sale, a near-mint copy of Flash Comics No. 1 recently sold for $350,000.
BehindTheMedspeak: Psychotropic Weapons
Academician Igor Smirnov of the Russian Academy of Sciences is often referred to as "the father of psychotropic weapons."
Here's a fascinating article from the November 10 Pravda about him and his research, translated by Anna Ossipova.
Mind control: The Zombie Effect
Methods of latent impact on the human psyche are no longer secret
Academician Igor Smirnov of the Russian Academy of Sciences is often referred to as "the father of psychotropic weapons."
At the age of 28, he became the head of a laboratory in Russia's 1st Medical Institute.
He is the author of numerous sensational discoveries.
Back then, he was faced with the task of "creating" human-geniuses who would be capable of becoming great scientists or magnificent inventors.
Smirnov's main goal was to make those people use the reserves of their own psyche.
His first top-secret experiment in psycho-reconnaissance was carried out in 1984.
Professor Smirnov possesses several dozen patents on various inventions.
Nowadays, staff researchers of Russia's Scientific Research Institute continue to conduct in-depth studies of the human psyche under Dr. Smirnov"s direct guidance.
Methods of latent impact on the human psyche are no longer secret.
"I allow for the possibility that perpetrators can and do use such methods to manipulate one's consciousness for the purpose of creating terrorist-kamikazes," stated Dr. Smirnov in an interview.
Dr. Smirnov was in fact the world's first person to get into the human mind by means of a computer.
Now, the first thought that comes to mind is, what triggers a person to commit such an act of violence?
How is it that the instinct for self-preservation fails to block a person's inner urge to destroy himself?
This was the main topic of my discussion with Dr. Smirnov.
Q. How is it possible to erase a person's memory?
A. There exists an entire array of possible methods. The majority of them are psychochemical. Electroshock can also have the same effect on a person. However, nothing works better than the so-called semantic influence, when a person is given certain orders that he then executes without hesitation. Personally, I wouldn't want to go into detail on such matters.
As a result of such "outside influence," a person's "self" gets totally blocked. Instead, another "self" is created. That second identity in turn can have a number of various programmed urges, such as killing oneself.
Q. Are there many people in our country capable of carrying out such procedures?
A. I can't say for sure. Obviously, the knowledge acquired at school is not enough to carry out such experiments. I think the number of such specialists is rather limited.
Q. Do you think you could restore a person's memory?
A. This is a very hard procedure. The thing is, those people will have a difficult time recollecting that lost time fragment that had been torn out of their lives. We did manage to help several of our patients to regain their memory partially.
Q. Many still remain rather doubtful about the fact that it is possible to alter a person's behavior while bypassing his conscious mind. In reality, however, people have been doing this for a hundred years already.
A. As far as I know, we are the first in this field of research. Similar methods were developed in Russia and America almost simultaneously; in Russia, however, they emerged 9 months earlier. Our department at the Institute was in fact the first in the world.
An American laboratory in Michigan, however, is our main rival nowadays. In 1993, the U.S. established a company especially for me; I am currently a board member. Due to my loyalties, however, I refused to stay there for good. Many of my colleagues immigrated a long time ago and now lead pretty comfortable lives there. Unfortunately, our inventions are not in high demand in Russia.
Q. Is it possible to defeat terrorism?
Q. Only an informational war is capable of defeating terrorism completely. And we possess this weapon. People's actions can in fact be controlled by unnoticed acoustic influence.
Look - it's easy. All I have to do is record my voice, apply special coding which converts my voice to mere noise and afterwards, all we have to do is record some music on top of that. The words are indistinguishable to your conscious mind; your unconscious, however, can hear them clearly. If we were to play this music over and over again on the radio for instance, people would soon start developing paranoia. This is the simplest weapon.
An image can also be encoded. After 12-14 minutes the information begins to get into one's consciousness. Our department is the only one in the world that possesses such instrument of informational war. However, no one seems to be interested in it.
Q. Several years ago you were lobbying for a law that would protect people from uninvited interventions into a person's psyche. Where is this bill now?
A. Mr. Lopatin from the Security Committee worked on a bill concerning informational-psychological security back in 2000. However, he is no longer a delegate and the law is nonexistent. Russians remain unprotected from such concealed messages that could be "hiding" in the media. There is no state control at all over work in psychotechnologies. In the meantime, the U.S. studies this subject far more intensely. More than 140 American universities conduct serious research in this area.
BehindTheMedspeak: 'Sleep in the City' - the best (and worst) cities for sleep in the U.S.
Bert Sperling, best known for his "Best Places" studies, did the survey.
He used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
You can read the details here.
Last Sunday's New York Times also delved into the story, perhaps because they'd been up all night and had nothing better to do.
Maybe they should instead strive for better sleep hygiene.
The best cities for sleep:
1. Minneapolis , MN
2. Anaheim, CA
3. San Diego, CA
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
5. Washington, DC
6. Northern NJ
7. Chicago, IL
8. Boston, MA
9. San Francisco, CA
10. Kansas City, MO
1. Detroit, MI
2. Cleveland, OH
3. Nashville, TN
4. Cincinnati, OH
5. New Orleans, LA
6. New York, NY
7. Las Vegas, NV
8. Miami, FL
9. San Francisco, CA
10. St. Louis, MO
Flirt! Rollerblush - Saran Wrap for the face
Read what stuffatnight.com's Darcy Scanlon had to say about this innovative new make-up from the new cosmetics line Flirt!:
- SWEET FLIRTATION
Fabulous meets frugal with the release of the new cosmetics line Flirt!
All my tester vixens who moonlight as graphic designers were enthralled with the Flirt press kit, which is designed to look like a PMS color chart.
To the less design-savvy, it looks like one of those long paint-chip books chained to the wall at the hardware store.
Each page or card lists a product and a "paint chip" of all the colors it comes in.
Isn’t that adorable and innovative?
You have to love beauty and brains.
It’s the best combo ever!
The coolest item on the Flirt! roster has to be the Rollerblush Portable Blush Paper ($9 at Kohl’s).
It’s like a tiny, black-plastic Saran Wrap style box, only instead of Saran Wrap, a delightful little sheet of powder-dusted tissue paper comes out.
It is available in three highlighting shades: the pale Pink Glimmer, a warm Peach Glimmer, and the sun-kissed Bronze Glimmer. And to top it off, the sheets are perfect for instant shine-blotting action.
As Darcy wrote, $9 at Kohl's.
Be the first on your [blush]block.
When you pull this out, your girlfriends will be [bookofjoe] green with envy.
Disney Winnie the Pooh Gummies Multivitamins
I saw them at CVS the other day, and did a double-take.
Talk about piling on: Disney + Winnie the Pooh + Gummie Bears is an awesome agglomeration of brands.
Put them all together, throw in a few trace vitamins (a "serving" of 2 gummies, the recommended daily dose, doesn't even amount to 100% of a 2 to 4-year-old child's daily requirement), charge a cool $6.99 for jar of 60 (that's 12 cents per gummie), and you're hearing nothing but "ka-ching."
Note to those who still think Vitamin E supplements make you die early: the total Vitamin E in a jar of gummies - 60 x 7.5 I.U./gummie = 450 I.U., less than half the 1,000 I.U. recommended as a maximum dose by the Institute of Medicine.
Translation: even if your child (or you) eat the whole bottle, and trust me, you could, they taste really good, and they're really soft the way the best gummies are, nothing bad will happen.
But I guarantee you that if a little kid gets ahold of these, they're history.
Better keep 'em in that lock box Al Gore gave you.
FailedCompaniesMerging: K-Mart + Sears < 0
You'll recall a once-frequent feature here, DeadCompanyWalking.
I guess K-Mart and Sears figured that if you combined two dysfunctional companies, they'd somehow emerge as one flourishing entity on an Earth in some other, parallel universe circa 1985.
That has to be the explanation for K-Mart's inexplicable purchase of Sears last week for $11 billion.
I mean, talk about two failed companies: have you gone into a store of either lately?
Depressing doesn't begin to describe the empty shelves, lack of salespeople, terrible lighting, and outdated merchandise.
Rearranging the deckchairs on the business Titanic in a big, big way, is how I view this proposed deal.
I'm sure, though, that these companies' investment bankers are cheering them on, anticipating the juicy fees to come.
Maybe they got the idea from Blockbuster Video
which, its business imploding from NetFlix and Pay-Per-View making huge inroads, decided to buy
Hollywood Video for a billion dollars.
Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits (Museum of Letters and Manuscripts)
Just opened in Paris, it houses a trove of treasures.
Located in a 17th-century town house in the St. Germain des Pres district, the 6,500-square-foot museum contains personal papers from the gamut of civilization's public figures.
The roughly 2,000 documents include letters, manuscripts, photos, musical scores, government forms, telegraph cables, and postcards.
For example, there's Teddy Roosevelt's signed dinner menu from his 1909 African hunting trip.
The menu included turtle soup, queen croquettes "Uganda Style," and "illuminated ice cream."
The exhibitions are mostly described in French, but so what?
That won't help with Catherine the Great's letters, or Churchill's, or Gandhi's (composed in Gujarati script).
Or with Mozart or Beethoven's ideas for compositions, or Einstein's doodles from the time he was developing the theory of relativity.
Eisenhower's 1947 letter to an old West Point buddy shows that you just never know; he wrote, "I want no part of any political job."
The museum's at 8 Rue de Nesle in the 6th arrondissement. Nearest Metro: St. Michel or Odeon. Admission $10. Phone: 011-33-1-4051-0225.
[via Seth Sherwood and the Washington Post]
'The Day After Tomorrow'
I watched this movie on DVD last night.
Sensational, is what I think.
I can't believe the terrible reviews it almost uniformly received.
The special effects are awesome; the scenes of rushing water inundating the streets of New York City are awfully realistic.
The story was quite good as well, I thought.
Then there was the unexpected bonus of Ian Holm's appearance, as a meteorologist in some far-flung English weather station.