From the Desk of Mr. Zissman

The musings of an over-stimulated mind

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Awesome entry about growing up addicted to horror and monster movies.

Films etc.

I’ve often wondered how and why my interests developed as they did. I grew up on a small farm in Iowa in the 50s, and experienced all that went with that. So maybe it’s odd – or maybe it makes perfect sense – that from an early age, as early as I can remember, I was totally in love with science fiction and horror (monsters!) via all their delivery systems; i.e.  books, magazines, comics, TV, and movies. Mainly movies, probably because films are so immediate.

I was an only child, and with no kids in my age range nearby, I was basically by myself until I started grade school. I developed an elaborate fantasy life, which fed directly off of all this stuff. My head was working overtime, mainlining every film and comic that crossed my path. My mother loved movies, so we went a lot. There was a glut…

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Written by MrZissman

05/18/2012 at 3:25 PM


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Hello class, its Professor Zissman. Welcome to your first class of ROCKING THE HELL OUT 101. Today we will be discussing The Greatest Music Video of All Time. But before we do, let’s discuss on what makes a music video great.  A music video needs to be catchy, in the sense that it needs to keep the attention of the viewer. Remember, you have to keep the audience interested to sit through the entire presentation. With a glut of music videos being released every day, you have to make sure your video stands head and shoulders above the rest. Now please open your text books to chapter one.


Not quite an angel or the one that fell

Meet Lordi.  Lordi is a Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band, formed in 1996 by the band’s lead singer, songwriter and costume-designer, Mr. Lordi. The band is known for wearing monster masks and using pyrotechnics during concerts. Take one look and it’s easy to see they’ve been influenced by such acts as KISS or GWAR.

Now Lordi has many videos thus far to their credit, but for today’s lesson we shall be observing the video for “Hardrock Hallelujah” off the album “The Arockalyspe.” Please pay attention to the screen and NO SLEEPING, do I make myself clear?

Okay, now, let’s talk about what we just saw. The main character seems isolated and lonely in the high peer-pressure world of high school.  Notice how she keeps her head down as she walks through the hallway? This speaks volumes for the loneliness and isolation she feels on a day-to-day basis. Now from this point, most people would expect this girl, whom we shall now refer to as Metal Girl, to go home and spend the rest of the day wallowing in her own sorrow. Ah, but that’s where this video is different!

As we can see in the following scenes, she watches the cheerleading squad practice their routine, even going so far as to rudely push her out-of-the-way. Again, Metal Girl feels like she’s invisible. But then, due to various rock and roll-based supernatural powers, Lordi manages to not only dim the lights but somehow put the snotty cheerleaders into a death-like coma.  We then are treated to the musical stylings of Lordi, complete with pyro.

Next is when the video takes an interesting turn. Mr. Lordi, the lead singer, seems to awaken the cheerleaders from their death-like coma, but they have now become zombies or Deadite-like creatures. At first, Metal Girl seems apprehensive, even terrified. But as Mr. Lordi continues on with the song, she seems slowly won over by their music and by the end of the video, is actually commanding the zombie cheerleader army.

So class, you now have your video. Your assignment for this weekend is a 500 word essay, single spaced, 12 point font, on what you think this video means to you. No cheating and please just don’t copy and paste Wikipedia, I will check. Class is dismissed.

Written by MrZissman

05/18/2012 at 11:10 AM

The Stephen Harvey Foundation: Bringing Tomorrow to Today

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Hello, I’m a Sally Struthers. Do you know anyone who’s turning 30? Sure, we all do. Every day, thousands of 29 year olds turn 30 and you may think there’s nothing you can do about it. But you’re wrong. I’m here today to announce the launch of the Stephen Harvey Foundation. This group, founded in 2012, aims to ease the transition from 29 to 30 by rewarding these poor souls with wicked awesome gifts.

For those of you who are unaware, turning 30 is a major milestone in anyone’s life. Gone are the carefree days of your 20’s and soon you have to embrace the Final Adulthood of things like 401(k)s, khaki pants, which heartburn medication works best and actually caring about American Idol.

So you can imagine why this would be a hard transition for anyone, but the Stephen Harvey Foundation is here to help. For starters, you can learn more about our organization by clicking here. Our assorted lot of Morale Boosters comes in a variety of prices, so you can be sure to find just the right item for that special 29 ¾ year old in your life. You don’t have to spend a lot, friends. Just a bit goes a long way in making sure that the transition to 30 doesn’t have to be a hard one.

My friends, won’t you be an angel to a special 29 ¾ year old in your life? Just click, buy and you can sleep easier at night knowing how you’ve helped the Stephen Harvey Foundation. We’re bringing tomorrow to today.

Written by MrZissman

05/14/2012 at 8:35 PM

I’m a Lumberjack, BABY

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For starters, everyone needs to watch this video before you read any further. Go ahead, I’ll wait..

There. Now you know about chainsaws. Now that you know about chainsaws, you need to see this.

But I ain't jacked my lumber, baby, since my chain saw you.

That sweet baby is an Echo US CS-400 Chainsaw. This sweet baby features i-30 Starting Technology, 40.2cc POWER BOOST Vortex Engine and is available in both 16″ and 18″ blades and, up until about a week ago, I had no idea I wanted one. I’m not exactly sure what day it was, but I remember logging on to Facebook and seeing an ad for a FREE CHAINSAW. All I had to do was enter a contest and it could be mine. Oh, but there was a catch! I had to use their DIS-Likenator and explain in so many words what I really dislike. Well, my first thought was to write something Evil Dead related, because let’s face it, no one can make a chainsaw look sexy like Bruce Campbell.

I came.

Hail to the King, Baby

But no, I figured the zombie angle was taken and (pun fully intended) done to death. If I was going to win this chainsaw, I needed to take a fresh angle, something bold and different. So on a sleep-deprived, stream-of-consciousness, mind-train thought process, I came up with this:

“The trees have become too powerful. At night I can hear them whispering secrets, plotting to overthrow the World of Flesh and embark upon a brutal campaign of bark covered hell. I feel the time has come for man to rise up against The Trees and slice them down in swift, brutal retaliation before they have a chance to strangle the very essence of life out of us with their scraggly roots.”

And that was that. Days went by and I had all but forgotten about the chainsaw till I got a package this afternoon in the mail. No, it wasn’t my beloved CS-400, but a free Echo USA Trucker Cap and a Lorax coloring book to help me “appease the trees”, as the enclosed note said. I was flattered, but bummed I didn’t win the chainsaw. But then later on, I was back on Facebook and saw that Echo USA had taken the time to give me a special shoutout on their Facebook wall! Even more cool, but…but no chainsaw.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Hey Stephen! You live in New York City! What could you possibly need a chainsaw for?” Well, I’m glad you asked because


  • No need for an electric carver on Thanksgiving
  • A trendy paper weight
  • It could be an awesome “You call that a knife? This is a knife!” Crocodile Dundee moment.
  • Damn sure no one is gonna mug me in this city
  • Great conversation starter
  • Obligatory Zombie Apocalypse protection

 So yeah, TONS of uses. But now, I must weep bitter tears of rejection into the cold, dark lonely night of sorrow. Crying because I have been denied my chainsaw. ECHO-USA, if you are reading this, I could really use that chainsaw right about now…

Written by MrZissman

05/03/2012 at 8:54 PM

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For those of you who’ve never been to this magical place, you are seriously missing out

Neil Zurcher's One Tank Trips

First off, the “Shelby Mall” is not a mall.  It is a huge surplus store.  You might say a surplus store on steroids. It is a place you can buy everything from a surplus 2 and a ½ ton military troop carrier to new decorations for your home.  There are aisles and aisles of parts for lawnmowers, automotive supplies, camping equipment, house wares, nuts, bolts, rope, garden supplies and, of course, military surplus.

Jennifer Arms, the owner’s daughter, laughs and says, “The real name is Glen’s Surplus, but our customers about ten of 15 years ago started calling it, “The Shelby Mall” and the name just sort of stuck. Lawnmowers are really our bread and butter.  About half of our business is lawnmower repair parts.” Jennifer says they have the parts for just about any lawnmower that was ever made.  In fact they have one room just dedicated to lawnmower…

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Written by MrZissman

05/01/2012 at 12:58 PM

Posted in Random


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Being a two-time state advertising co-champion, I know a thing or two about marketing. The whole point of marketing is to make money and you make money by convincing people to exchange their money for your product, good or service. The more people you appeal to, the more money you make. Seems simple, right? And yet, for some, the mere concept of mass appeal seems so foreign and strange. No more is this prevalent than the comic book industry, especially towards women. Granted, the industry has always been viewed as a Boy’s Club, but studies have shown an increasing number of women reading comic books. In fact, a recent informal survey on Facebook of over a million comic book readers revealed that roughly a quarter of them are women and that number is growing. And yet there seems to be a large disconnect between publishers and female readers.

One infamous example of this disconnect is DC’s recent approach to one of their more popular characters, Starfire. For you non-comic fans, allow me to give you a quick summary: Starfire is an alien warrior princess from the planet Tamaran and was a well-known member of the super-group called Teen Titans. As her character grew older in the comics, she eventually out-grew the Titans and went solo, where she faded into obscurity and disappeared into the background. Besides making a cameo here and there, she didn’t have much of a presence in the DC Universe.

Classic Starfire

But when Cartoon Network launched an anime-inspired cartoon series based on the Teen Titans, Starfire’s popularity exploded due to her animated alter-ego. The popularity of the Titans increased so much, that DC re-launched the Teen Titans comic book after years of cancellation solely because of the cartoon show. The show itself drew a range of ages, but served as a good entry point for a younger generation into comic books. Animated Starfire was friendly, strong, loved her friends and wanted nothing more than for everyone to get along.

Animated Starfire

Like all good shows, Cartoon Network cancelled Teen Titans and comic book Starfire went about her ways. Eventually, DC Comics held a massive event in their comic books called New 52. Long story short, due to some shenanigans involving the superhero the Flash, time travel and your usual comic book logic, the entire DC universe was essentially rebooted. They had a fresh, clean slate to work with and brought in tons of creative talent to usher in a new era of their creative properties. Again, Marketing 101 says they would take this ball and run with it and they did, with Superman and Batman getting excellent teams and stories to work with. Oh and Starfire?


If you can’t figure it out, Starfire’s decides to sleep with fellow ex-Teen Titan member Arsenal (aka Speedy, former side-kick of the Green Arrow) because of REASONS. No real character development, no real method or anything. Just “lol sex” for the sake of sex. I think David Willis, creator of popular webcomics Shortpacked! and Dumbing of Age, summed it up best in this strip.

Or, even better, fantasy author Michele Lee had a conversation with her then-7 year old daughter about Starfire’s sexy reboot. You can read it here. 

By pushing towards hormonal young men in readership, you’re missing out on a huge wide market. You’re limiting yourself in terms of money, readership and endangering anyone coming back to buy future issues. Granted, after constant complaints, DC and the industry itself have made some attempts to bring in more female readers, but lately it seems these attempts have been half-assed, at best.

And it’s not just Starfire getting this treatment, as female characters from other titles and companies are drawn in, shall we say, creative ways…

Clearly the chain-mail thong barely covering her ass will protect from the nefarious barbarian Hans McButtstab


Oh Rob Liefeld, you wonderful scamp!

I know plenty of women whose vaginas are perfectly outlined under their clothing and who constantly walk around on their tip toes

"Behold my THINGS and despair, mortals."

One of the worst aspects of this whole debacle is that it’s even a debate at all! It’s common sense: treat female comic book characters with the same respect and intelligence you would a male. But fanboys will be fanboys, and due to the anonymous power of the internet,  fanboys hiding behind screen names have threatened female comic book fans with rape and violence! It’s utterly ridiculous and insane. If done properly, you wouldn’t notice a change with the male characters and yet the fanboys have armed themselves with verbal slings and arrows, ready to attack anyone who wishes to harm their precious stash.

I’m a comic book fan and I want this industry to survive. I want comic books to continue to be an entertaining medium for many more generations to come. I want to be able to sit down with my future son or daughter and revel in the exploits of Starfire or Batman or Captain America or anybody. But if the industry continues to hope to ride a tsunami of testosterone to the bank, they’re going to find that it will only get you so far. Mass appeal means just that, MASS appeal. As in the masses. As in, including females too.

In the end, the future of comics rests in the hands of the readers and the readers will only buy what they like. Treat them with respect and they will treat you with respect with their pocketbooks.

Written by MrZissman

04/30/2012 at 4:00 PM

The Ballad of Trog Blüdsmash: An Epic Tale of Blood, Steel and Carnage

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[The following is my created back story for my D&D character, Trog Blüdsmash]

Trog Blüdsmash, of the Blüdsmash Clan, was born into a long lineage of warriors. His great grandfather, Hansdreck, once punched a Dire Moose to death merely because he could. His grandfather, Vonheim, stood 7’2″ and was known throughout the entire kingdom of Merdervorld for his bravery and ridiculous pecs. Trog’s father, Zardon the Great, drove back an entire army of Zombie High-Priests using only his bare hands and a small rock. They say the body count was in the triple digits, but that is a severe under-estimation.

So naturally, when Trog was born to his mother Valhalla, the expectations for him were high. He quickly proved himself worthy of the Blüdsmash mantle by dismembering a ten foot tall Minotaur named Grog the Unspeakable. This would be a decent accomplishment for any proud warrior, but considering Trog was still a wee-lad wearing vampire-skin diapers, it quickly spread throughout the kingdom. By the age of 10, the full list of his slain accomplishments was baffling:

  • 337 zombies of various sorts (Shufflers, sprinters, moaners, screechers, gobblers, thrillers, etc.)
  • 37 vampires of the normal variety
  • 5,104 vampires of the sparking variety
  • 7 Minotaurs (including the father and son duo of Ragnark the Unholy and Starg the Facepuncher)
  • 89 Voodoo Mistresses
  • 3 Were-Dragons
  • 17 T-800s
(An artist’s re-creation of Trog on his 12th birthday)

Though he was capable of many feats of epic brutality with his bare hands, he instead chose to wield a mighty battle axe given to him on his 1st birthday by his uncle Rets. Nicknamed ‘Solomon’ (due to its habit of wanting to split things in half) the mighty weapon never goes dull, due to it’s keen sharpness haven been forged in the fiery furnaces of blackest hell (or spoken as W’en Yesrej in the Old Tongue.)


A rare, non-bloodied picture of Solomon

Yet despite his list of accomplishments, he lacked the one true quest that a Blüdsmash male needs in order to fulfill his obligations to the clan. And so, with that being said, he left the village on his 21st birthday, armed only with Solomon and some basic provisions and set out to wander the kingdom of Merdervorld to find his One True Goal. As the night grew deep and long, with the moon hanging in the air and casting it’s pale luminescence upon the ground, he met a kind old trader who let him ride with him to the next town. However, the caravan was soon set upon by a horde of greedy goblins who would attempt to slay both the old man and Trog and steal the cargo. Trog drew Solomon from the holster on his back and leaped into battle, his heart full of rage and pride. His story has just begun and pages will be written in the blood of all who stand before him.

Written by MrZissman

04/26/2012 at 4:04 PM

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