Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Restaurant News--plus "Fire Man" from Liberty Scouts #3 (August, 1941 - Comic Corporation of America)

Friends, let it be said, loud and clear: there is no ceasing a woman's will. Once her plans are set in motion, no man (or men!) can stand in her way.

Dorrie got her permit! Due to the curious half-residential, half-business zoning of our lot, she is allowed to use the area comprising the guest bedroom (once the Pantheon's indoor residence) for her bistro scheme.

Since our kitchen boasts restaurant-grade refrigeration and "food prep" areas, Dorrie is permitted to use said room to prepare and cook her meals. A waiter (and there is choice news in this department!) with sufficient hygiene training will be able to cross our living room and navigate a brief hallway to bring the food orders from kitchen to consumer.

Dorrie's early holiday gift (and show of support) from myself is the endowment of a set of restaurant-grade linen tablecloths, chrome napkin dispensers, food-grade eating implements (24 sets each of salad fork, entree fork, dessert spoon, entree spoon, steak knife, butter knife and entree knife) and the printing and lamination of one dozen full-color, two-sided menus.

As well, quite by happenstance, I have procured a wait-person for Dorrie's bistro-to-be. He is a figure who I've mentioned here in prior posts. Perhaps you recall Raphael Vazquez: he who sold me the current Pantheon structure; he who was last seen shyly touting farm-fresh curds by the roadside.

The bashful Latino lad was spotted waggling a coffin-shaped sign by another bleak intersection. Raphael moved the sign in such a befuddling manner that I could not read its message until he set the placard down to scratch an itch on his upper back.

The sign read:


I brought my "Prias" to a scuddering stop and hobbled out of the car. "Raphael!" I cried. "It's Mr. Moray! I have a job for you!"

Raphael smiled--for the first time since he'd sold me the defective Pantheon--and discarded the "night bean" sign.

A laundry truck, its driver surprised by Raphael's sudden move, applied his brakes but ran over the sign, which perished into so much waste paper and firewood.

"You got a yob for me?" the lad asked, incredulous.

"Not at this precise moment," I replied. "But forthcoming is a bistro position for you--if you are interested!"

Over coffee and donuts at Mr. Twister's Crullers, down the street, Raphael and I became re-acquainted, and I described Dorrie's plans for an in-home restaurant--several times, in fact.

My young ward could not be convinced this was anything but a ribald jest. He laughed so hard that cruller fragments fell from his mouth. "A rest'rant in your house? Meester Mason, that ees seely!"

"Perhaps," I sighed, "but it is my wife's will, and there is no stopping it."

"Eef my mudder start a rest'rant een my home, my fodder keeck her good een dee rear."

"My boy, America is a more civilized land than you think. Here, even the least sane notions, if backed with enough money, can quickly become reality."

Raphael shook his head. "Ees no yoke, Meester Mason?"

"It is the gospel truth, lad. Shall you work for us?"

Raphael chewed on his cinnamon-doused pastry. "Ees... ees thees yob one wheech pay moanies?"

I beamed in encouragement. "It is, indeed. As well, you shall be fed each day you work."

"When do I estart, Señor Mason?"

"Shortly, my friend. In the meantime, have you a telephone? Can I call you when the time has come to start work?"

"Sí, tengo un teléfono portátil," he answered in his native tongue. He revealed one of those "celled phones" which are all the rage amongst today's youth. "I mean, I have thee cell telephone, Señor Mason."

"Your bi-linguality will be an asset to our bistro, lad," I said. "Now, if you will give me your telephone number..."

With ball-point pen, and with great effort, Raphael inscribed his number upon a fresh napkin. He also penned his name; this is where I learned of his last name (Vazquez) and his present height (5'8"). I suppose this is a Hispanic custom--to provide such measurements along with one's contact information.

I could scarcely wait to spring this "news flash" upon my "better half." But I had to earn my day's bread before I could make this relevation.

Our office is currently undergoing a protracted audit. This is due to a blunder of inexperience done by "Chuckie" or "Charlie." Somehow, breaking every rule in the book, this young salesman peddled the same insurance account to three successive signees--simply due to his failure to reset a simple document on his "lapped-top" computer.

The youngster is no crook--he lacks the savvy to fleece a "sucker." He is simply mentally idle, and lazy to boot. He will have his fingers slapped, and he must suffer through the sheer tedium of an audit.

This leaves me with little to do at "the shop" except fuss about with the unfiled, unregistered documents that accumulated during my medical leave. I pay a brief visit to The Pantheon each morning, before I leave for work. Therein, I select a few vintage treasures to scan at work.

'Twas thus the source for today's panelological presentation. More about that anon.

But I must continue my narrative. I am plagued in my home by a sassy interior designer. He calls himself "Raydon." He is in his 20s, I suppose. He has one of the most curious hair-stylings I have ever seen. As well, his eyebrows have been tweezed, re-shaped and colored in the style of a Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, circa 1950.

Heaven help us all--he is Dorrie's chosen designer for the restaurant. Its current title is either my punny suggestion, "Maison Moray," or the more down-home "Dorrie's Diner."

Our inquisitive neighbor, Burt Liffler, is a former professional sign-painter. Somehow, he caught wind of "the wife"'s scheme, and, over the past week, has crafted any number of slickly rendered signs, utilizing both potential names for the bistro-to-be.

One of them (an early effort) featured a none-too-flattering caricature of yours truly. He had the idea that the restaurant was of my creation. Dorrie guided him in the right direction.

I applaud Mister Liffler's efforts: they occupy all his waking time not spent at his school, and make my daily forays to The Pantheon less risky.

Were only the same true for the high-strung "Raydon." Dorrie found him at her church, where he plays the organ and sings alto in the mixed choir.

I see no evidence of religion in "Raydon"'s life, but Dorrie assures me he is amongst the more devout of the church's attendees.

This incumbent designer is inordinately fond of two phrases, both which pepper his utterances more often than actual words of conversation. These oft-heard statements are: "Snap!" and "No, you ditten!"

What is the meaning of these quips? I shall demonstrate...

As "Raydon" and Dorrie postulated color schemes for the bistro, I sat nearby, studying some mid-war issues of Feature Comics and enjoying a plate of Reduced Fat Hydrox cookies, with a glass of vanilla-flavored soy milk.

I am a devotee of cookie-dunking. Over the years, I have mastered the art of sufficiently soaking a cookie with milk that it can reach my mouth before it breaks off and falls to the bottom of the milk glass.

Alas, I suffered one of my rare failures as "Raydon" stared at me. His eyebrows unnerved me, I will confess. The cookie broke off. Half of it bobbed lazily in the now-browned soy milk.

"Snap!" "Raydon" laughed and pointed at my mishap.

I realized that the cookie portion was still sufficiently solid--due to its creme filling--to be removed by hand and consumed. I elected to ignore "Raydon"'s inane utterance, and fished the cookie from the milk.

As I popped the soy-sodden morsel in my mouth, "Raydon" looked at me with amazement--his coy eyebrows arched--and cried out: "No, you ditten!"

I restrained my irritation. One cookie rolled off the plate and landed on the floor. "Snap!" again issued from the flibbertigibbet's mouth.

I retrieved the cookie--still in edible shape--and guided it to my mouth. My eyes and "Raydon"'s maintained constant contact as I ate the cookie.

"Raydon" gasped and again cried, "No, you ditten!"

Friends, I dare not return home until well past dinner-time. Dorrie will be irked at having to re-warm her cooking, but it's better I face her displeasure than be battered by the mindless chitter-chat of this ersatz "designer."

Thus, I write tonight's post in the solemn darkness of the otherwise-deserted office. For your reading pleasure, I present a seldom-seen gem from the obscure title Liberty Scouts. This hero, cleverly named "Fire Man," inexplicably failed to ignite public fancy.

I believe you shall deem his exploits most worthy of consideration. Here is one of "Fire Man"'s finest tales, from the third issue of this ill-fated comic magazine:

Series writer/artist Martin Filchock was a pioneering naturalist. That is to say, he lived out of doors--under which circumstances he produced his innovative panelological narratives. Mr. Filchock made his home in the trees and bushes of Manhattan's Central Park.

He was part of a pre-war art movement known as "The Out-Doorists," which had such fine-art luminaries as Dover Payne, Ferd Russlinger and Raoul Delacroux amongst their ranks.

These young creators felt that the enclosure of buildings hampered the cosmic rays of creative impulse (called, by this group, "Creimp") that inspired them to their assorted arts.

Thus, young writers, painters, sculptors, engravers and, yes, panelologists plied their creative trade without shelter, as you and I know it.

Martin Filchock attempted to create super-heroes based on the astrological factions. His "Air-Man" and "Water Man" failed to see publication. With "Fire Man," Filchock had an undeniable "smash" concept.

Filchock was heavily influenced by motion pictures, although he could not bear to remain inside a theatre for the duration of a film. Thus, his influence came from fleeting snatches of movies he tried to attend in earnest.

It was said that, after a half hour, Filchock would begin to sweat and stir in his seat. His murmuring and constant scratching disturbed other cinema patrons. It was inevitable that he be escorted from the theatre premises by an usher--or that he dash out into the street of his own volition. "No Creimp!" he'd be heard to shout. "No Creimp!"

No one knows what happened to Martin Filchock. His stories simply ceased to appear in Liberty Scouts. His editors never saw him fully dressed, and in his latter days, his clothing usually consisted of an artistically-applied wrap of newspaper to legally cloak his nudity.

The Out-Doorists quickly fell out of favor with the art-going public, as their work shunned themes of country and patriotism--anathema to flag-waving 1940s America.

Most Out-Doorist artworks perished in a legendary downpour of September, 1943, in which Central Park was flooded. As recently as 1991, newly discovered Out-Doorist masterpieces--such as Russlinger's fatalistic wood carving Nestle Road IV--have been discovered by intrigued urban archaeologists.

As the only Out-Doorist to influence panelology, Martin Filchock has earned a place amongst the immortals of The Panelological Pantheon. Even tho' his work is little-known in the 21st century, his visual innovations, dynamic narratives and his heroes' child-like gratefulness to the women in their life (they are frequently seen selecting greeting cards and chocolates for their female companions in Filchock's stories) mark his comic book creations as something sublime and haunting.

My stomach grumbles with hunger. I wonder if I dare return home. Wish me well, dear friends. I await our next convergence.

Oh--one more question. Perhaps some amongst you are linguists. Raphael added this mysterious phrase to his napkin. What might it mean? Here it is...

Señor Mason, necesito los pantalones.


  1. Hi Mason!

    I had four years of Spanish in high school. I still remember some of it.

    Raphael is telling you that he needs some pants. My guess is that he needs a dark pair of slacks for his waitering position. Sounds like he's pretty broke, and can't afford to buy some for himself.

    A tip: you might want to tone down Raphael's Hispanic accent. I get it, but some folks might be offended by the way you spell it out phonetically.

    "Fire-Man" is pretty great! I didn't know this strip existed. A cool find!

  2. I was wondering what you used as reference for your blog entries or if you just make-up stuff as you go along. You seem pretty good at telling a story, but unfortunately, the story you share about Martin Filchock seems more fiction than fact. Well, at least you got his name spelled right, and he did draw Fire-Man in Liberty Scouts ... and that's about all you got right.

    "No one knows what happened to Martin Filchock"? A quick search of the 'net (the bare-minimum of fact-checking) turns-up quite a bit on Filchock's successful post-comic book career.

    Maybe you honestly don't know much about good old Marty (it's apparent that you are oblivious to his most famous comic book creation), but that doesn't excuse you from passing-off misinformation and fabricated stories as "facts". You are doing a terrible disservice to your readers, and I feel bad for them if they believe anything you type.

  3. Hear, hear! As a comic book creator and animator, I created my fair share of "fantasias" in the past! But this stuff about me really takes the cake, buddy!

    So I lived in Central Park, eh? I suppose I swung through the trees, like Tarzan!

    I actually lived with my folks in Brooklyn while I did my comic-book stories. When it was time to move on to bigger and better things, I had my own place. I can assure you, fella, it had a roof and four walls.

    Since I lived my life (88 years of it so far!) I believe I'm liable to know the real story. What you tell about me here is just a bunch of baloney!

    I walked through Central Park many times. That's about it for me! I appreciate the attention, but everything you wrote about me is 100% malarkey!

    Marty Filchock

  4. Hmmm. I'm not sure WHAT to believe, here. I know for sure the Out-Doorist Movement was real, since I've read about it in art books and even saw a couple of key pieces on display at the Art Institute in Chicago last year. I wasn't aware Filchock was part of it. Maybe you've got him mixed up with another artist... well.. I mean you MUST have since Mr. Filchock himself apparently posted a correction here. Whatever the case, yes, Raphael is asking you for pants. Good luck with the restaurant. My uncle Sal once ran the Polar Bear Cafe. It was located in the middle of Raven Downs, a horserace track in Virginia. You couldn't hear yourself think when the race was on, but man could he make a corned beef sandwich!

  5. Mr. Moray,

    No matter what others say, no matter if your stories are 100% fact, or sprinkled with blarney, all I know is that I found your posts highly entertaining, imaginative, and captivating. I can't remember when I have not been able to put down a blog until I had devoured every last post. I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident, but it has been a most fortunate accident indeed. Your style appeals to me good sir, and I would be most honored if one day you would take it upon yourself to grace my humble blog with a comment as well. Good health and fortune to you sir, and good luck in all your efforts.

  6. I am Martin's is all foolishness. Dad met my mom in New York, and spent many years drawing cartoons in Sarasota, FL and Rogersville, TN. He was actively creating artwork until almost 100 years of age.