Howdy there, buckaroos!

Hey, Yes, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Picture Page #36
(More pictures and commentary from beautiful Oteseraga County)


Not For Sale!

Let's start this Picture Page off with this perfectly wonderful example of an ex-lib copy of a Freddy, far more charming in almost every way that really matters than the edition of Space Ship I sold a while back at my Spring 2005 Internet Yard Sale. So fine a specimen is this, in fact, that I am sorely tempted to sell it (charging triple my usual price for a "preowned" Freddy) to raise a little cash for my medications. However, I simply must keep it for myself! Yes, I know I am being cruelly selfish since I already have another copy of this title, and I expect that many voices will be raised loudly against me once news of the existence of this particular book traverses Freddydom. Well, hard cheese! There is but one circumstance that might persuade me to part with this treasure. When the Friends of Freddy organization bestows its Lifetime Achievement Award (if it exists) upon me, I might be persuaded to donate this volume for a book auction at one of their conventions. And then again, I might not. For serious collectors of Freddy books, I will point out what they're missing. The rest of you need read no further and may move on to the next picture.

  • First of all, this is not just any old library discard. It was honorably discharged from active duty at the Tushville Public Library.
  • Some little cretin thought it a swell idea to color in all the illustrations with crayons. He or she did not care to stay strictly within the lines, but used considerable imagination when selecting colors. For example, the illustration of Leo on page 40 is filled in with a pretty cornflower blue...a very nice post-printing modification.
  • Talk about soft pages! Talk about fraying! Ditto for rubbing, soiling, cracking, separating, tearing, bumping, cocking, etc. All these highly desirable qualities of an ex-lib book are here in spades! And just look at the tape job! I admit, this volume would be a truly superior specimen had the repairer employed gray duct tape or, even better, black electrical tape, but that faux pas is more than made up for by the adhesive residue left behind when the tape shrank back.
  • It is nearly impossible to describe the subtle smell that emanates from this volume. I think it is something like the pungent reek of black walnuts. Mrs. U. says it's more like stewed prunes. I guess a professional coffee taster or an accomplished oneophile could better describe this book's bouquet, but my description is not far off the mark.

Though this particular book is NFS, I do have a very spiffy first edition of Camping in a library binding which I will be putting up for grabs at my next Summer Internet Yard Sale--if I have one, that is.

Sale Preview


Wow, was I ever lucky to find the brass floor lamp in this picture at the yard sale my neighbors had before they moved to Ocala. Though it was not working, I bought it anyway along with a perfectly good carpet sweeper, a box of unsorted photos (from which came the photo to the left), and a barely used minnow pail--all for ten bucks! The only repair the lamp needed was a new electrical cord--that's it--and I was able to do it myself. Of course, the lamp was pretty tarnished, so I had to polish it, and I had to replace the shade which was pretty shabby, but what a deal! At first I tried the lamp out in my living room, but it made for a cluttered look and really didn't fit in with the furniture. For a while I thought I had wasted my money, but suddenly I had a eureka moment! I moved the lamp from the living room and parked it behind my reading chair in the study where it blends in perfectly with the room's decor. And I no longer have to squint when reading footnotes or darning my socks .

Do not be alarmed! This is not a crime scene! The moments that followed the recording of this instant were not filled with spurting arterial blood, loud shrieks, gurgling and thrashing, and death. Nor is this a still from one of those horrible, ghastly movies relished by the young morons and stupid "adults" of our modern times. It is obviously posed, for if the ax had actually been descending swiftly to bisect the cranium of a victim, it would be blurred. The picture was taken at a site a couple of doors down from Herb's cabin up near Oteseraga Lake. That's Herb with the double-bladed ax. I can't recall the name of the woman, but she was the wife of one of Herb's neighbors up there, and she had dressed up to look like Mr. Brooks character Freddy the pig dressed up to look like a charwoman. Now, you're probably asking yourself why Herb would want to stage such a preposterous scene. There is a completely sensible reason, of course. It was for a contest that Slater's Book Store sponsored way back when to promote sales of Mr. Brooks's series. Mr. Slater, as you know, had a bookstore on the corner of Main and Liberty in downtown Centerboro. Because Mr. Brooks set his stories in and around town, the books were fairly popular in this neck of the woods, and to increase sales, Mr. Slater offered a complete set of the Freddy books as the first prize in the contest, the object of which was to create the best photographic reenactment of a scene from any of the books. Well, I'm not quite sure why Herb would have wanted a complete set of the Freddy books other than to burn the lot of them on his front lawn, and Herb's picture didn't come close to winning as there is no scene in any of the books quite like this one...but I give his effort a blue ribbon for its faithful representation of what I know to have been Herb's feelings about his depiction by Mr. Brooks.

I do not include this photo from the box of unsorted snapshots I picked up at that yard sale I mentioned above because of the man chasing his hat. I have not the faintest idea who he is or why his hat is flying through the air. It is because of the shadow in the foreground that this picture must be of interest to Freddyites. I'm not certain of the exact date of this shot, but since the shadow is clearly that of one of the experimental Martian-human hybrids, I would guess it to be in the 1950s. (Go here and scroll down for what might be an image of such a creature.)

I have been asked any number of times if I know why the Martians would have produced such beings and why there is so little documentary evidence for the existence of such creatures. From the little I've been able to piece together from my direct contact with the Centerboro Martians and from the telepathic emanations that sometimes can be picked up from Mars with just the right equipment, the hybrids were nothing more than the result of the Martian equivalent of human junior high schoolers fooling around with a chemistry set in the basement--mere child's play, in other words. Reports of hybrids have dwindled to almost nothing here in Oteseraga County since the 1950s, so my guess is that they were disassembled by their makers, or escaped and went into hiding somewhere in the Adirondacks, or were taken back to Mars as pets or service sector drone workers. In any case, if you happen to catch a glimpse of one of these monstrosities, drop me a line, and I'll report the sighting here on my site.

For regular visitors to my site, this picture should not be terribly difficult to figure out. It ought to bring a typical Martian (or perhaps one of those dreadful hybrids) to mind. This image was given to me by Two-Clicks in the mid-'50s during the Martian visitation to Centerboro. Like so many others, I was naturally curious about the Martian life cycle, and my friend Two-Clicks, the blabbermouth of the Martian crew and the one most proficient in English, was happy to provide information--especially for a bag or two of unshelled salted and roasted peanuts. Since I have already told you what I know of the details of Martian reproduction elsewhere, I needn't go into all that again, but aside from the picture of the hatchling in the Martian nursery aboard their ship, I don't recall publishing any other pictures of Martian young. This is such a picture. It's a Martian embryo several weeks before it would have hatched. From what I could make of my chats with Two-Clicks, Martians are a pretty hard-boiled lot, and they have no sentimentality whatsoever about their offspring at whatever stage of development. Martians regard themselves as temporary vehicles constructed by their brand of DNA to produce more efficient DNA, and consequently they attach no supernatural trappings to the process or the results of their reproduction. Nor is their personal mortality much of an issue for them; it's just another unalterable fact of existence as far as they're concerned. Anyway, because mature Martians don't spend any time concentrating on reproduction or worrying about death, they have been able to develop a mostly rational civilization. I'll give you an example. The Martians immediately cull any individual exhibiting signs of greed, cruelty, spitefulness, hypocrisy, vindictiveness, furtiveness, narcissism, sanctimony, or mendacity before it reaches breeding age. There is, therefore, nothing like the average human politician on Mars. I'm not exactly saying the Martians are better off than we are, but I'm not exactly saying they're not, either. They're just different from us.

Yes, of course, it's none other than Zingo. I believe I revealed Zingo's real name long ago on this site, but to save you the trouble of "flipping through the pages" to discover it, I'll just remind you that it was Albert Funderburke. Mr. Brooks probably based some of the plot of Freddy the Magician on an actual feature of Zingo's show during which he offered any member of the audience five dollars if he or she could come up on stage and duplicate the card trick shown in this picture. Of course, Zingo never had to shell out five bucks to anyone. Zingo's annual Centerboro show was one of the better acts that came through town, and it's a shame that he became a persona non grata around these parts. If you're interested in the circumstances of Zingo's last trip to Centerboro, you can find some details when you scroll down through PP #31 to the picture of some of his props he left behind while making an abrupt departure from the Centerboro Hotel.

These folks, Angus Coombs and his wife Hester, are mentioned once, maybe twice, in the Freddy books, though I couldn't tell you where off the top of my head. Known throughout the county for his gigantic pumpkins, Coombs had no other claims to fame at the time of his death in an accident on a neighbor's farm. So horrific are the details of that mishap that I cannot divulge them on this mostly all-ages site. You'll have to dig through the Oteseraga County records if you want the particulars. Coombs was not your average farmer. While most of the others were concerned with raising livestock and cash crops, Coombs spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling around trying to raise immense vegetables and fruits. Once, hoping to grow tomatoes the size of his head, he even purchased a packet of tomato seeds that had been irradiated. Didn't work out. The pumpkins were his one big success story, and his impressive collection of Oteseraga County Fair blue ribbons attested to that. Funny, isn't it, what one will choose as one's raison d'etre. For Alexander, it was world conquest. For Angus, it was colossal vegetation. For me, it's about publishing The Truth™ about Centerboro, the Martians, etc. What's it for you?

Rev. Dr. Wintersip

This candid photograph of Rev. Melvin Wintersip, DD, late minister of Centerboro's First Methodist Church, and his wife Elsie was taken shortly before his fatal tumble from the pulpit. You may find more information about that unfortunate event and a picture of Dr. Wintersip taken a few years before his condition necessitated his appearing in public like this on Picture Page 29. Now it has always puzzled me that a Supreme Being would take time off from keeping the universal constants constant to send tornadoes to tear up mid-Western towns, to inflict deadly ailments upon innocent babies and ordained ministers, to arrange for the rich and powerful to grind the wretchedly poor and helpless beneath their heels century after century, and to make sure that certain folks choke to death on aspirated food. I was never much satisfied with justifications like, "He works in mysterious ways." Nor did I find the claim that there's treasure in heaven for the really good and a serious hell waiting for really bad people after their deaths much consolation. Shoot, I'd much rather see the bad guys get theirs right now! Honestly now, wouldn't you? Oh, well. Even though Dr. Wintersip had the dubious job of explaining the downright inexplicable, he wasn't a bad sort, really. After his death, no lurid stories about any gross hypocrisy or actus reus on his part emerged to entertain the idle minds of Centerboro.

If I were asked to pick just one moment in the past to revisit, it would probably not be this one. As old as I am (eighty-six this coming October 31--no presents, please), I have many, many more pleasurable moments from which to choose. I snapped this picture myself near Sibney Memorial Park in downtown Centerboro when I was home on leave from the Army. I was strolling around town getting some snapshots to share with my buddies in the unit and just had time to point and shoot as Jenny Hall and Madeline ("Minx") Bean came whizzing around the corner. That's Jenny looking back over her shoulder and eclipsing Minx. Now, I had been a little sweet on Jenny back then, but our romance cooled off considerably when I enlisted, and by the time I was discharged, she had married someone else. I had already received my "Dear John" letter from Jenny before this leave, and I don't know why I snapped the picture, and I know even less why I carried it all around Europe until I was discharged in 1945...or why I still have it.

Not For Sale!

And to end this page, you see displayed here my nice reading copy of Adolfo Best-Maugard's rather influential art instruction book Method for Creative Design, and if you don't know who he was, you cannot call yourself much of a Freddyite. For the non-Freddyite visitors to my site, he was the first illustrator of what was to become the Freddy franchise. By the way, you can see all the pictures he created for To and Again in the gallery which I have thoughtfully (and with no expectation of thanks from anyone) provided here.

I found this early Knopf printing (1928) at a Centerboro Free Library book sale years ago. There are over a hundred spiffy black and white illustrations, and I must say that I still enjoy browsing through them now and then. Although most Freddyites would probably say they prefer Kurt Wiese's Freddy illustrations to Best-Maugard's, I would have to say that I like the robust, instinctive, almost primitive style of Best-Maugard a little better.

Interested in finding out more about Adolfo Best-Maugard? Here are two links for you.

1. Diego Rivera's 1913 Full-Length Portrait of Best-Maugard (In case you wonder where Adolfo is posed, it's on a balcony in front of the famous Ferris wheel in Paris.)

2. A brief Best-Maugard biography

Quick Link