Archive for December, 2010

“It Came From Half-Price Books”

Today (Thurs­day) was the last day of a 20% off sale at Half-Price Books and I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pick up a num­ber of selec­tions for the Collection.

 “Wonder Woman” — Season 1, 2, 3

All three sea­sons of the “Won­der Woman” TV series star­ring Lyn­da Carter and Lyle Wag­goner. No oth­er series fea­tures such con­tin­u­al mind con­trol ele­ments, espe­cial­ly Won­der Wom­an’s famous las­so, but there were also a num­ber of oth­er hyp­no­sis or brain­wash­ing ele­ments in the stories.

“Killers from Outer Space”

Peter Graves stars in this movie abut aliens who plan to mutate ordi­nary insects and ani­mals into an unstop­pable assault force on human­i­ty. Grave’s char­ac­ter is essen­tial for his sci­en­tif­ic con­nec­tions and is placed under the men­tal con­trol of the aliens to pro­vide that assistance.

“Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe”

The entire 12 episode series, the third of the Flash Gor­don seri­als. This one is note­wor­thy for the episodes where Dale Arden is exposed to an amne­sia agent and is turned against Flash. The set also includes episodes from the 50’s TV series and might con­tain anoth­er mind con­trol storyline.

“Instant Self Hypnosis” by Forbes Robbins Blair

A do-it-your­self self-hyp­no­sis book, with a large num­ber of scripts to fol­low and direc­tions on how to write your own scripts.

“Hypnosis: Secrets of the Mind” by Michael Streeter

[amtap book:isbn=0764125931]

A lav­ish­ly-illus­trat­ed guide to the sub­ject of hyp­no­sis, start­ing with the his­to­ry of the sub­ject and mov­ing on to spe­cif­ic sub­jects such as the appli­ca­tions of hyp­no­sis, self-hyp­no­sis, stage hyp­no­sis, etc. (It also includes a chap­ter enti­tled ‘Hyp­no­sis in the Media’.) Its a good book for the pro­fes­sion­al to give to non-pro­fes­sion­als to describe what they do.

And the one that got away, as the store could­n’t find the DVDs to put back into the packaging:

“Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” — Season 1

The black&white sea­son, ear­ly in the show’s his­to­ry when it was as much con­cerned with espi­onage as with mon­sters. This col­lec­tion includes the episode with the “fear gas”, where a for­eign agent tries to dis­rupt oper­a­tions by expos­ing the crew to a gas that mul­ti­plied their latent fears. 

There were a few oth­ers that are not des­tined for the Col­lec­tion but I could­n’t just pass up, including:

“Them!” (1954)

The first and best of the 50’s giant insect movies. Star­ring James Whit­more and James Arness (and appear­ances by Whit Bis­sell and Fess Park­er and even Leonard Nimoy), its a taut and sus­pense­ful sto­ry about mys­te­ri­ous attacks in the desert near where the first atom­ic bomb test was car­ried out. The first 10 min­utes are espe­cial­ly creepy, set in a wind-blown desert where the only sign of the pres­ence of the giant insects is the smell and the sound they make: there is a real feel­ing of claus­tro­pho­bic dan­ger here. Also to be men­tioned is the female sci­en­tist (Joan Wel­don) who demands to be treat­ed as a sci­en­tist first and a woman lat­er and gets it. 

This Week in Comics — 2010/12/22

Two entries this week, one expect­ed and one unex­pect­ed. The first, “Zatan­na”, is a title I nor­mal­ly col­lect, the sec­ond one, “Bat­man Annu­al”, that I nor­mal­ly don’t both­er with but exam­ined just because it was new this week, and I’m glad I did.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing “This Week in Comics — 2010/12/22”

No New Post this Weekend — On Holiday

Well, actu­al­ly not just because I’m tak­ing the week­end off for the hol­i­days. I caught was is always called “what is just going around” and it came around here. I had to leave a video gig because I was too weak to con­tin­ue stand­ing all the time, then spent that night and the whole next day and night switch­ing between the bed and the toi­let seat. 

I only start­ed feel­ing bet­ter yes­ter­day but was still low on ener­gy and I have a tough sched­ule start­ing Christ­mas Day through Jan­u­ary 1st, and since prepar­ing a blog entry (doing the research and the writ­ing) is tir­ing, I did­n’t want to push myself. (I even have a cou­ple of entries from the new comics this week that I could­n’t get myself to complete.)

So, Hap­py (Hyp­not­ic) Hol­i­days every­one, and I will return next year.

Google Ngrams — A Hypnotic Resource

One of the more con­tro­ver­sial things that Google has done (at least to authors such as myself) was to dig­i­tize and con­vert a wide vari­ety of writ­ten mate­r­i­al and present it to the pub­lic. (Writ­ers were con­cerned about copy­right issues, some­thing that direct­ly affects their profession.)

How­ev­er, with that dig­i­tized mate­r­i­al now avail­able, it is pos­si­ble to process it is many dif­fer­ent and inter­est­ing ways. One of them is Google Ngrams, which is a search engine designed to track the appear­ance of cer­tain words in the col­lec­tion and relate them to spe­cif­ic eras when that word was used. In oth­er words, this is a search tool to reveal the times in which a spe­cif­ic word became part of the lit­er­a­ture and to track its pop­u­lar­i­ty. The data­base only can pro­vide infor­ma­tion for the peri­od 1800 to the present, however.

But since the word “hyp­no­sis” and the relat­ed terms were cre­at­ed by James Braid in the 1820’s, they def­i­nite­ly fall with­in the time range. So, just as an exper­i­ment, I entered the terms “hyp­no­sis”, “hyp­no­tism” and “hyp­no­tize” into the data­base and got this result. As I expect­ed, the three terms start­ed appear­ing in the 1820s, but what mild­ly sur­prised me was the jump in appear­ances in the ear­ly 1880’s, prob­a­bly coin­cid­ing with the increased inter­est in the sub­ject in Vic­to­ri­an Britain and America.

In con­trast, a com­par­i­son between “hyp­no­tism” and  “mes­merism” here shows a rel­a­tive­ly sim­i­lar rate of appear­ance since before the start of the data set, with a spike in the ear­ly 1840’s and 1850’s, then set­tles down to a rel­a­tive­ly sta­ble appear­ance rate up to the 1920’s and slow­ly declin­ing to present.

Anoth­er part of the search engine, one that has been around for a while, allows for search­es inside the var­i­ous books, mag­a­zines and arti­cles in the data­base, This includes not only a num­ber seri­ous books on the sub­ject but also a num­ber of pieces of fic­tion as well. They’re well worth inves­ti­gat­ing: one exam­ple here searched for any­thing in the 1800–1850 time frame that includes the word “mes­merism” and returns sev­er­al items, includ­ing works by such ear­ly fig­ures as James Esdaile and Thomas Buckland.

I plan on inves­ti­gat­ing this resource much more deeply in the future, but for now its an inter­est­ing tool in itself.

“Birdland” by Gilbert Hernandez

[amtap amazon:asin=1560972009]

A three-issue series and a soft-cov­er col­lec­tion with addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al, pro­duced by Gilbert Her­nan­dez, “Bird­land” is the sto­ry of the trou­bled mar­riage between Mark and Fritz Her­rera and the lives of the peo­ple (espe­cial­ly Mark’s girl­friend Bang-Bang, Mark’s broth­er Simon with a fix­a­tion on Fritz and Fritz’ sis­ter Petra with a fix­a­tion on Mark) sur­round­ing them, espe­cial­ly their sex­u­al lives. What is par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant is that Dr. Fritz main­tains a psy­chi­atric prac­tice using hyp­no­sis (and using her gold­en heart-shaped pen­dant as a hyp­not­ic focus) in which she (and even­tu­al­ly her sis­ter) has sex with her hyp­no­tized male clients.

Then there’s the alien abduc­tion (Greys, it appears) ele­ments and the added era-span­ning mate­r­i­al which leads to Mark and Fritz’ pos­si­ble rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, all of which draws the sto­ry into ‘mag­i­cal real­ism’ . Its all quite a con­glom­er­a­tion with very lit­tle over­all plot or char­ac­ter devel­op­ment but that’s not real­ly the point: the whole sto­ry is more of a snap­shot of the rela­tion­ships between the char­ac­ters with plen­ty of sex included.

Note: The entire book is total­ly NSFW or view­ing by any­one under legal age. It is also very much out of print (the pub­lish­er is out of busi­ness) and hard to find.

Adden­da: Gilbert Her­nan­dez is broth­er to Jaime Her­nan­dez. Togeth­er they pro­duced the award-win­ning and crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed “Love and Rock­ets” comics. Los Her­manos Her­nan­dez are two of the best artists and sto­ry­tellers in the comics busi­ness, indi­vid­u­al­ly and coop­er­a­tive­ly: their work has con­sis­tent­ly shown a strong B&W art style with strong depic­tions of the female char­ac­ters and a con­cen­tra­tion on His­pan­ic life and char­ac­ters. Gilbert’s tale here is not as wide­ly known as his oth­er works and is cor­re­spond­ing­ly just as dif­fi­cult to find. And although “Bird­land” does share some char­ac­ters with “Love and Rock­ets” they are tech­ni­cal­ly not the same people.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: The book is still worth check­ing out, if you can ignore the ram­pant sex through­out There are a num­ber of lev­els that require sev­er­al read­ings to explore.


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