…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 66)

Two badass women come to the rescue!  First, Catwoman arrived early one morning, but somebody snagged the rock by the time the artist looped around our pod and revisited the bench.  Darn it! 

This photo is from the artist:

Catwoman is Batman’s lady superwoman friend.  A jewel thief from Gotham City, she steals jewels in order to survive.  (At least she does it in style!)  She learned martial arts and trained extensively to perfect her skills in cat burglary.  Her criminal activities are often tempered by a reluctant altruism, so she is an occasional ally to superhero Batman.  She regularly eludes capture by the Dark Knight and maintains a complicated, adversarial relationship with Batman that frequently turns flirtatious and occasionally, legitimately romantic.

Selina Kyle was the original and most widely known Catwoman and first appeared in Batman #1, in 1940.  Back then, she was known as “The Cat” and was an adversary of Batman.  She carried a whip during her high-stake thefts.  Modern writers have attributed her activities and costumed identity as a response to a history of abuse.

Since the 1990’s, Catwoman has been one of Batman’s most enduring love interests and has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. 

Next up on the Sun City Peachtree bench?  Wonder Woman!  A DC Comics superhero, the character first appeared in All Star Comics #8, in 1941.  I missed her, too, so here is the artist’s picture:

As a civilian, Wonder Woman is known as Diana Prince; but, when she is in her homeland, the island nation of Themyscira, her official title is Princess Diana of Themyscira.

The superwoman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Marston) and artist Harry G. Peter, during World War II.  The character was initially depicted fighting Axis forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains.  Over time, though, her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters of Greek mythology.  Many stories depicted Wonder Woman freeing herself from bondage, which counterpointed the “damsel in distress” trope that was common in comics in the 1940’s.

Wonder Woman is a powerful and strong-willed woman who commands respect; and, she never backs down from a fight or a challenge.  What a badass!

If you want to watch a modern-day badass in action, check out Queen Latifah in The Equalizer on CBS.  She rocks!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 65)

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Spider-Man stoically stated as he stood watch on the Sun City Peachtree bench.  He was ready to react quickly to potential danger with his “spider-sense” power and “web-shooter” in hand.

“Spidey” is a Marvel Comics superhero and the main protagonist of the entire Marvel Universe.  Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, in August, 1962.

Before becoming a superhero, Peter Parker was an orphan raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  Like many teenagers, young Peter had to deal with the normal struggles of high school life.  He felt rejected, inadequate, and lonely—feelings teenagers in real life could relate to so well.  As a result, Lee and Ditko’s superhero creation was a huge hit in the comic book world.

When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in the superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist.  Lee and Ditko changed that by making their teenage character the star.

Since the teenage superhero didn’t benefit from being the protégé of any adult mentors like Captain American and Batman, he had to figure things out for himself, including the realization that “with great power comes great responsibility.”  That line appeared in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story.

Over the years in the comic book series, Spider-Man developed from a shy high school student to a troubled but outgoing college student.  He then became a high school teacher and got married in the late 2000s.  In his most typical adult role, he is a single freelance photographer. 

Spider-Man is now a member of the unofficial splinter group of the Avengers, one of Marvel’s flagship superhero teams.  The “web-head” is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes and is Marvel’s company mascot. 

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 64)

The other day, this adorable baby penguin waddled her way to Sun City Peachtree and somehow managed to hop up onto the bench for a rest.  She had come a long way, after all!

Here’s a little fun fact about penguins:  They are incredibly fast swimmers!  Their wings function like wheels in the water, and they can have a speed of up to 15 mph.  On land, however, they’re not so fast.  They walk (or waddle!) at a speed range between 1.7 mph to 2.4 mph.

If you compare the swimming speed of penguins to Olympic gold medalists such as Caeleb Dressel or Michael Phelps, they race at less than a third the speed of penguins.

Yesterday, this kangaroo hopped with her joey all the way from Australia to join us up here in Georgia.  I wonder if they stowed away on a ship to get here?  Nah, they probably escaped from the Atlanta Zoo instead.  What a couple of cuties!

Have you ever wondered why Australia has a sporting flag of a kangaroo in boxing gloves?  The idea of a boxing kangaroo originates from the animal’s defensive behavior, in which it will use its small forelegs (its arms) to hold an attacker in place while using the claws on its larger hind legs to try to kick, slash or disembowel them.  This stance gives the impression that the kangaroo appears to be boxing with its attacker. 

The boxing kangaroo is a national symbol of Australia, and is often displayed prominently by Australian spectators at sporting events.  It rose to prominence in 1983 when the Australia II team won the America’s Cup, and the crew raised the Boxing Kangaroo (“BK”) as their sporting battle flag.  The image, a red-gloved golden kangaroo on a green background, was owned by Alan Bond (owner of the Australia II yacht) who licensed it for mass production.

The next animal to visit was Scooby-Doo, the pet and lifelong companion of Shaggy Rogers.  Although he’s a Great Dane, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy share several personality traits, mostly being fearful and perpetually hungry.  The pooch doesn’t say much, but every word he does manage to utter has an “R” at the front of it, due to a speech impediment.  One of his catch phrases is “Ruh-roh, Raggy” (Uh-oh, Shaggy).  He also howls at the end of every episode, “Scooby-Dooby-Doo!” or “Rooby-Rooby-Roo!”

A Hanna-Barbera creation, Scooby-Doo was a children’s cartoon on CBS.  Fred Silverman, the children’s programming director, came up with the character’s name from the syllables “doo-be-doo-be-doo” in Frank Sinatra’s hit song Strangers in the Night. Artist Iwao Takamoto took it from there and designed the character after first speaking to a Great Dane Breeder, who described to him the desirable characteristics of a pedigree dog.  Takamoto then drew Scooby as the opposite of this.  He said, “I decided to go the opposite [way] and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, small chin and such.  Even his colour is wrong.”  That’s what makes him so cute and loveable, I think!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 63)

It appears as if the superheroes have taken over the Sun City Peachtree bench, so we continue with Batman who is visiting us from Gotham City.  CEO of Wayne Enterprises and patriarch of the Bat Family, Batman is a veteran member of the Justice League.  His real name is Bruce Wayne, but shhhh!  Nobody knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman!  It’s his secret identity!

Bruce had witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, so that is what lead him to become a crime fighter.  He trained hard to become physically fit and mentally strong, so he could fight evil.  When it’s time for the fight, he dons his batman costume and heads to the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor to prepare for the fight.  He is assisted by his butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Although Batman does not possess any superpowers like most superheroes, he uses his intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, and intimidation to the best of his abilities.

Batman (aka The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, World’s Greatest Detective, and the Defender of Gotham) was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger.  The character made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, in May, 1939.

Meanwhile, another superhero, Iron Man, stopped by the bench as well, but quickly disappeared to fight another crime.

Anthony (Tony) Edward Stark is Iron Man.  He is a billionaire superhero from Marvel Universe and a founding member of the Avengers. 

Adopted by Howard and Maria Stark, little Tony grew up privileged without a care in the world.  Receiving the best education money could buy, he attended boarding school and found academics was a breeze.  At the age of 15, attended M.I.T., and by the age of 17, he had already graduated with three Phd’s.

Tony’s perfect world shattered when his parents were killed in a car crash orchestrated by one of Stark Industries’ rivals, leaving Tony the heir of their fortune and company, a weapons manufacturer.

One day, Tony was in Pakistan demonstrating a Stark Industries weapon, and it blew up in his face, leaving a piece of shrapnel piercing his chest and sinking towards his heart.  While unconscious, he was captured by the Ten Rings terrorist group in Pakistan.  Held at gunpoint, the group forced Tony to engineer bombs for them and receive treatment for the shrapnel injury or left to die.  Being as clever as he is, Tony instead built a chest plate that would stop the shrapnel from killing him, then he built a mech suit around it.  With his suit, he escaped the camp and dedicated his life to heroism.  After returning from Pakistan, Tony spent his days fighting crime and eventually forming superhero groups like the Avengers.

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 62)

Captain America has arrived at Sun City Peachtree!  For some of our residents, I’m sure he’ll bring back childhood memories of lazy summer afternoons spent reading Timely Comics’s Captain America while lounging in the shade under a tree.

The superhero dates back to March of 1941 when Timely Comics (a predecessor to Marvel Comics) released Captain America Comics #1, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  The character was designed as a patriotic super soldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II. 

Captain America is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young artist enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental “super soldier serum,” after joining the military to aid the United States in the World War II effort.  The character wears a costume bearing an American flag motif, and he utilizes a nearly-indestructible shield that he throws as a projectile. 

Joe Simon had first conceived the idea for Captain America in 1940 and made a sketch of the character in a patriotic costume.  In Simon’s autobiography, he stated, “I wrote the name ‘Super American’ at the bottom of the page.  No, it didn’t work.  There were too many ‘Supers’ around.  ‘Captain America’ had a good sound to it.  There weren’t a lot of captains in comics.  It was as easy as that.  The boy companion was simply named Bucky, after my friend Bucky Pierson, a star on our high school basketball team.”

Simon said Captain America was a consciously political creation; he and Jack Kirby were morally repulsed by the actions of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Fittingly, their first issue featured Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the jaw.  That image proved so popular that one million copies of the comic book were sold.

Not everybody was thrilled with the cover, though.  As Simon noted, “When the first issue came out we got a lot of… threatening letters and hate mail.  Some people really opposed what Cap stood for.”  The threats, which included menacing groups of people loitering out on the street outside of their offices, proved so serious that police protection was posted with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia personally contacting Simon and Kirby to give his support.

The fans outweighed the objectors, though, and Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character of the period.  The popularity of superheroes waned following the war, however, and Captain America comics was discontinued in 1950.  Marvel Comics revived it in 1964, though, and the superhero has been around ever since.  As of 2007, and estimated 210 million copies of the comics had been sold in 75 countries.

The superhero was the first Marvel Comics character to appear in media outside comics with the release of the 1944 movie serial, Captain America.  Since then, the character has been featured in other films and television series, including The Avengers, released in 2012.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my previous post about Popeye, if any more of his buddies (or enemies) came along to our community, I would let you know.  Although somebody snagged him off the bench before I got there, Bluto made a brief appearance.  The artist photographed the rock, so I could share it with you.

Bluto the Terrible is Popeye’s best-known enemy.  The brute always has a plot to get the better of his rival or strike it rich.  He’s a selfish and greedy dude, and has a devious attraction to Olive Oyl.  Popeye comes to her rescue, though, thanks to his trusty spinach, which makes him strong, powerful, and able to defeat the villain.

These beauties are a few random acts of kindness left on our neighborhood bench over the past days:

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 61)

Popeye and his family have come to Sun City Peachtree to take shelter from Hurricane Ida, which is pummeling the Louisiana coast as I write.  He has abandoned his boat somewhere on the lower Mississippi, so I hope it will weather the storm ok. 

I missed the day Popeye arrived; he was snagged off the bench before I got to him.  The artist helped me out with a photo for this story.  The same happened with Wimpy.

The corn cob pipe-smokin’ sailor is actually from the upper Mississippi, in Chester Illinois.  We visited his birthplace in 2017, and you can read about Popeye’s hometown here.

Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye’s creator, was born in Chester, and created his Thimble Theatre comic strip in 1928.  Several of his characters were based on his experiences with people from the town.

The muttering Popeye is a language-challenged character—he mangles the easiest of words to pronounce.  Although he is violent and uncivilized, the sailor is an introspective guy and has his morals. 

Sporting a couple of anchor tattoos on his huge forearms, he has an interesting body type with those skinny upper arms.  Since we never see his right eye, I’m not sure if he is missing it entirely or just squinting. 

Those massive forearms serve Popeye well when he needs his strength.  Of course, it isn’t until he eats spinach when he becomes mighty enough to lift huge, heavy objects.

Olive Oyl is Popeye’s absent-minded and flirty girlfriend.  Have you wondered how she got her name?  Back in the 1800’s, Chester’s chief commodity was castor oil, which was used as a lubricant.  Castor Oyl and Crude Oyl are two of Segar’s comic strip characters, and Olive is their little sister. 

Segar actually created Olive Oyl an entire decade before Popeye came along.  The sailor became so popular, though, that Segar renamed his strip after the spinach-eating dude.

Olive, as Popeye would like to say, is “a perfect 57… 19-19-19.”  Those are her measurements—extremely skinny! 

Baby Swee’Pea, named for the flower (and Popeye’s term of endearment for Olive Oyl), was found in a box on Popeye’s doorstep, on July 24, 1933.  Popeye adopted the baby and raised him as his son.  In an August 17, 1933 comic strip, he christened his “boy-kid” as “Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom.”  It’s a bit cumbersome, don’t you think?

Finally, there’s Popeye’s lazy pal, J. Wellington Wimpy.  The guy loves his burgers, and it shows!  He’s smart and well-educated, but watch out, because he likes to mooch!  He’ll do whatever it takes to get a free burger.  Although he’ll always promise to pay you back “on Tuesday,” he never does. 

I’ll keep you posted if any of Popeye’s other pals come along.  Meanwhile, here are a bunch of other Betty Boop’s that I never got to see, because they were snagged before I got to the bench:

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 60)

It’s Betty Boop and her pooch Pudgy!  Now, that’s a blast from the past of about thirty years before my time.  They came along in the same era as when our oldest Sun City Peachtree residents were born!

The year was 1930 when Betty made her first appearance in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes, the seventh installment of Max Fleischer’s series Talkartoon, which was released by Paramount Pictures.  She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising and is one of the best-known and popular cartoon characters in the world.

Betty Boop began as a caricature of singer Helen Kane and was transformed into a cute, light-hearted flapper girl of the Jazz Age.  She was featured in 90 theatrical cartoons between 1930 and 1939.

Helen Kane took exception with her caricature, though.  In 1932, she filed a $250,000 infringement lawsuit against Max Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation for the “deliberate caricature” that produced “unfair competition”, exploiting her personality and image.  The case finally went to court in 1934, and Fleischer testified that Betty Boop purely was a product of the imaginations of himself and detailed by members of his staff.  Yeah, right.  Kane had risen to fame in the late 1920s as the “The Boop-Oop-A-Doop Girl”, a star of stage, recordings, and films for Paramount.  It’s a bit too coincidental to me, and Fleischer even admitted that Helen Kane had been their model for Betty Boop.  Surprisingly, Helen Kane lost her case.

Meanwhile, Betty Boop’s sexy looks weren’t acceptable to the prudes of the era, because once the Motion Picture Industry instituted the Hays Code, her character and appearance became quite demure.  The Hays Code was a set of industry guidelines for the self-censorship of content that was applied to most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1934 to 1968. 

In a 1934 court case, the flapper was described as: “combin[ing] in appearance the childish with the sophisticated—a large round baby face with big eyes and a nose like a button, framed in a somewhat careful coiffure, with a very small body of which perhaps the leading characteristic is the most self-confident little bust imaginable.”  (Yes, my eyes were rolling when I typed that last part!)

Once the Hays Code went into effect, Betty’s flapper dress was tossed in favor of a fuller dress or skirt.  Her hair became less curly, and she eventually stopped wearing her gold bracelets and hoop earrings. 

Betty had to tone down her personality, too.  Joseph Breen, the new head film censor, ordered Betty to stop winking and shaking her hips in her film introductions, because they were too “suggestive of immorality”.  As a result, Betty’s personality became less sexy and more mature.  At least they made her wiser, too!

It was about that time when Betty got her puppy pal, Pudgy, and he starred with her in Little Pal.  Pudgy is quite the cutie with his black spots, and he is her very faithful companion.

Now, then, are a few Betty Boop Quotes:

“I wanna be loved by you!”

“I’m too pooped to Boop…”

And, my favorite and yours, “Boop-Oop-a-Doop!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 59)

Evidently, Rocky (of Rocky and Bullwinkle) made an appearance on the Sun City Peachtree bench while I was out of town, so I was able to obtain his picture from the artist. In the following days, Bullwinkle, Boris, and Natasha all dropped by as well:

Rocky and His Friends was a cartoon series that aired on television from 1959 to 1961.  The Bullwinkle Show followed from 1961 to 1964, and then it was syndicated as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.  That’s the one I remember as a little kid. 

Rocket J. Squirrel (“Rocky”) is a flying squirrel, and Bullwinkle J. Moose is, well, a moose.  Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale (don’t you just love those last names?) are Russian-like spies that are the main antagonists of the show.

Created by Jay Ward, Alex Anderson, and Bill Scott, they named Bullwinkle after a car dealership, Bullwinkel Motors, in Berkeley, California.  Changing the order of the last two letters of the name kept them out of legal hot water!

Rocky (the smart one) and Bullwinkle (dim-witted, but well-intentioned) are best friends and shared a house in the fictional town of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, a parody of the real-life town of International Falls, Minnesota.  Throughout the series, the two had various adventures that usually saw them thwart the various schemes of Boris and Natasha. 

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 58)

Well, it’s about time you show up, Goofy!  What have you been doing; goofing around?  Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the rest of the gang are long gone!

Considering Goofy’s clumsiness and ineptitude, I’m not at all surprised that he showed up so late—or showed up at all!

Here’s the scoop on the dog:  Originally dubbed Dippy Dawg, Goofy was conceived as a one-shot Disney character, but proved to be such a big hit that he made regular appearances in Disney short films.

According to Pinto Colvig, the original voice artist for the character, Goofy was inspired by a “grinny, half-baked village nitwit” from his hometown of Jacksonville, Oregon.

The long-eared dog is a bit of a hick with his southern drawl and slapstick style of comedy.  His interests include sports, movies, fishing, road trips, adventures, games, camping, barbecues, parties and dancing.  He also enjoys spending time with his son, Max, and he loves food.  (Who doesn’t?)

There are some things Goofy doesn’t like, especially his own clumsiness and Max’s stubbornness.  He also dislikes loneliness, heights, waterfalls, and rejection.

Since you don’t like waterfalls, Goofy, you better hang a left and head out the back way, because the golf course waterfall is just up ahead, and the Sun City Peachtree entrance has a big waterfall! 

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 57)

Uh-oh!  Yogi Bear’s sidekick, Boo Boo, is carrying one of the “pic-a-nic” baskets that Yogi snatched away from some inattentive campers, and Ranger Smith is hot on his trail!  That’s too bad, because it really wasn’t Boo Boo’s fault.  He likes to do the right thing and keep Yogi from doing things he shouldn’t do, but he has a difficult time trying to keep Yogi out of trouble.  Ranger Smith will be very disappointed!

Boo Boo has been very loyal to Yogi and has been by his side since the “Yogi Bear” segment of The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958.  When Yogi was given his own series in 1961, Boo Boo went with him.

As for Ranger Smith, the former US Army soldier oversees Jellystone Park and makes sure nobody (or no bear) is breaking the rules.  Wanting to protect both the campers and wildlife, the park ranger greatly disapproves of Yogi stealing food from the visitors.  As a result, he has a grudging respect for Yogi and can never quite decide if he should send Yogi off to a zoo or not.  Although their relationship is quite antagonistic, they are also friends, so if serious trouble were to befall one of them, the other, out of sheer guilt, usually attempts to rescue them.

In this case, Boo-Boo got caught in the middle, poor little bear!