Throwback Thursday: the TootsieToy plastic battleship!

This ought to be an obscure one — what you see below is a TootstieToy plastic battleship that was a favorite toy of mine during my very early childhood in the 1970’s.  I can find little reliable information about it online … one eBay ad, for example, incorrectly lists it as an 80’s toy.  Adding to the confusion is that TootsieToy seems to have been known for making primarily diecast metal products, including lots of ships, and they were doing so for half a century — between the 1930’s and the 1990’s.

Believe it or not, I think I actually have fuzzy (but colorful) memories of my older sister buying this for me at a toy store in Queens when I was a toddler, maybe in … 1976?  1977?  It can’t have been later than that, because my family moved to Long Island before the close of 1977.

Dear Lord, was this thing was a treasure to me.  I figure it was hardly longer than a foot, but it seemed pretty big to small hands.  I’ve still got it somewhere, I think.  Part of the bow is broken off.  When I was very young, I held the misconception that everything hollow needed to be a bank, and at one point I tried to put nickels inside of it.

It doesn’t matter much.  Even if this toy is in pretty good condition, it only fetches about $17 on eBay — more proof that not everything old is also valuable.




Am I nuts if I think Sansa Stark’s outfit on the last episode of “Game of Thrones” looks vaguely reminiscent of the Night King’s armor?

Somebody please tell me this is not foreshadowing her death and reanimation as a wight, or some variation of a White Walker …

What do we call that resurrection process, anyway?  Wighted?  Wightened?  Wightwashed?


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A few quick words on the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 premiere.

The premiere of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” was damned good … enough for me to give it a 9 out of 10.  (You know you’re enjoying a TV show when you are riveted to the screen.)

The dialogue and character development for this show is always first-rate, and the acting often is.  Last night was no exception — the exchange between Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), for example, was priceless.

The glimpse of The Night King’s wight army, however brief, should please any horror fan.  I watch a lot of horror movies, and I’m a tough fan to please.  Yet I am still surprised at how this fantasy show continues to succeed in scaring me.  It’s impressive.  If the leaked script for Season 7 is accurate, then the bad guys in the final episode ought to be damned frightening.

I will reiterate a very minor longstanding quibble that I have had with “Game of Thrones” as someone who has not read the books.  This story seems to attach tremendous dramatic emphasis to the movement and arrival of groups of people.  I do understand the need for this, and its appeal — the logistics are part of George R.R. Martin’s world-building, and they bring detail and a sense of realism.  There are times, however, when I feel like Daenerys’ defining character trait is that she … goes places.  (Look!  Now her army is here!)

I won’t say much more for fear of spoilers — this is a show where even mentioning a character’s name can suggest a chapter in his or her character arc.  (I will say that I loved the opening segment, even if I was understandably puzzled at first.)

This is great TV.


“Roanoke Summer Midnight,” by Eric Robert Nolan

“Roanoke Summer Midnight”

Its midnight moon is newly minted coin —
a white-hot silver obol
forged in burning phosphorus.
The crisping clouds around it blacken.

Its silhouetted mountains
are great blue gods at slumber
the faded-haze azure horizon’s
giants in the dim.

Those slopes have known a billion bones of hares
that raced upon them other midnights, then,
pausing, one by one,
drawing up their downy legs at last to final sleep.

Where the Shenandoahs’ driving
beryl falls to black,
aquamarine to onyx,
lay legions of hares — generations resting.
There are the hills where ivory
rabbits sleep among gods.

Ahead and under moonlight
the curving rural road obscures its end.
At right, an intersecting well-lit modern block
confuses the curling topography.
The fresh and symmetrical asphalt’s angle
mars the winding thoroughfare with order:
a ninety-degree anachronism.

That new and perfect subdivision
affronts the corner’s antebellum chimney,
broken down to stones and overrun in lavender
— its lilac colors driven plum by sunset.
That last century’s smokestack
was itself effrontery once
to the formless places where natives stayed
their only edifice the stars,
their only currency the blinding coin of moon.

Eyeing, then, the summits’ crowning cobalt
driving down in royal blue to coal,
I hope to one day take my rest
there, in the darkening indigo,
alongside giants,
among white rabbits in myriad easy stillness,

to pause myself at last and sleep beneath
what meadows stretch in cerulean dark,
where hares will race like moon-kissed silver,
or comets of darting pearl.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2017



Photo credit: By Jessie Eastland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Throwback Thursday: Mego Superman (1972 – 1979)

I actually had a couple of these eight-inch Mego Corporation Superman dolls when I was a very young child — along with more than one Mego Batman.  I’m guessing they were repeat gifts.  I sure loved them.

Those boots you see were easily lost.  I still remember them floating around at the bottom of my childhood toybox.

What’s interesting is that these relatively crude toys were still being released even after the more modern action figures were hitting the scene.  (Kenner, for example, was releasing the first standard-size Star Wars figures in 1978.)




Nolan’s Relatively Mellow Summer 2017 Playlist — featuring Toxic Sundown Avenger!!

Take this for whatever it’s worth to you — it’s my relatively chill summer playlist.  A good college buddy of mine consistently posts a “Friday Dance Party” playlist on Facebook every week.  (The Dude is on a mission to make the whole world dance.)  This, I prefer to think, is a more laid back seasonal complement.

Hey, you want to hear something really sad?  I really like Airborne Toxic Event a hell of a lot, but, when I tried to Google them earlier tonight, I typed in “Toxic Sundown Avenger.”   That is what happens when an old man tries to get into the young people’s music.

*I’m* the one who’s “sundowning.”



[Explicit lyric warning for Daniela Andrade and Kawehi.]
































Neill Blomkamp’s free new sci-fi short films are goddam nightmare-inducing.

Writer-director Neill Blomkamp (who brought us 2009’s “District 9” and who wanted to bring us a fifth “Alien” installment) is currently releasing a series of sci-fi short films via his “Oats Studios” channel on Youtube.  There have been four released so far, with a fifth, “ZYGOTE,” scheduled for release today.

The two to which I’ve linked below, “Firebase” and “Rakka,” are fantastic.  They’re both military science fiction, they’ve both got lots of gore and great special effects, and they both show Blomkamp’s trademark predilection for body horror.

They’re both incredibly dark stories, too.  “Firebase” is disturbing; “Rakka” is downright horrifying.  (The Eiffel Tower scene … yeesh.)  It might make you smile, though, to see none other than Sigourney Weaver fighting alien invaders.

If “Firebase” doesn’t make much sense to you, try not to let it hamper your enjoyment of it.  (The short’s reveal shows us that many of these disparate story elements actually aren’t supposed to make much logical sense, considering their cause.)  And you should know ahead of time that both of these short films should serve as prologues for sequels or longer tales.  (Maybe Blomkamp is planning their denouements in subsequent shorts?)

I was so befuddled by “Firebase” at first that I wound up turning it off and then returning to it later.  I still think that its writing could be cleaned up a bit.  It’s definitely out there, and strays from science fiction into fantasy and … maybe even theology.  It was “Firebase,” however, that stayed with me and really got under my skin — much more than the more straightforward invasion horror story, “Rakka.”