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In Which I Cast Pearls.

A future masterpiece, just waiting for YOU to put it to good use.

Gentle reader, a colossal rainbow soap bubble of an idea has burst in my brain, or else I’m having a stroke, and in any case the concept is too unmanageably huge for me to dream of actually executing it, busy as I am with all the various what not of my day to day. And so, rather than madly tossing the baggage of my life overboard, throwing my arms wide and embracing it, but also unwilling to let it drift away, another cloud dispersing into the stratosphere of all the grand ideas I’ve had and then forgotten; I’ll sketch it out for you here and leave it; A blueprint made of cobwebs and synapse left lying in some virtual attic corner to be found during my eventual estate sale.

I have in mind a metaphoric tool for looking backwards over our shoulders at the collapsing twentieth century we are rapidly clattering away from and it works like this:

Between 1905 and 1914, there was a popular newspaper comic strip drawn by one Winsor McCay (That name alone! There aren’t any names like that left now) called “Little Nemo in Slumberland”. Magnificently drawn, carefully lettered so that even the text in each word balloon was as elegant as a wedding invitation; Child Nemo tripped amongst shrunken skyscrapers, pursued by tenements on legs and giant Mushrooms, relative size and shape exchanging regularly; in short, a darkly surreal jaunt across pulp broadsheet.

Born a scant dozen years later, a seed growing in the fertile mid-century soil, bearing fruit in the winter of 1953 featuring none other than a nude Marilyn Monroe within it’s pages, Playboy Hugh Hefner, somehow still alive even now by science or magic or infernal pact; the mansion, the ‘Girls Next Door’, the hideous pneumatic reality show posing a now ancient Hef, STILL IN BATHROBE, sleep attire, loungewear, do you see my parallel? ... His current manifestation a nasty ugly barb-hooked into our own twenty-first century flesh like a harpoon, dragging behind it a past that now looks quaint and adorable and almost coy, Marilyn, MARILYN for Lord’s sake!

And HEF! Previously two-dimensional to be sure, but a self-made glyph signifying cocktails, hifi, a pipe, remember that ninety-degree angle pipe? This senile, shaking, geriatric, mumbling visage of death is HEF? Sultan to a harem of tragically inflated, medically enhanced gold diggers as a means of keeping the now iconic bathrobe wearing bunny silhouette, what, relevant? Against a sea of easily available oiled and shaven Internet pornography? To think as a youth we used to look up dirty words in Webster’s unabridged for titillation!

All right then, if you’ve followed me this far, think of it like this; a magic telescope that peers not into the distance, but rather probes like Google Earth at our relatively recent past; the tiny concave lens on one end being Little Nemo in his PJ’s, the larger convex lens upon the other being quasi-mummified Hef.

And when we peer into this telescope of metaphor, we become the idea I have in mind, we are ‘Little Hef’, dressed for sleep but capering wide-eyed across a dreamscape of two world wars, scampering about a sideshow peopled with freakish cold war Koreans and Vietnamese, ducking briefly into the burlesque tent for a quick peek at the comic antics of The Legendary Impeachable Twins, Sleazy Dick with his Bowling Ball and Oily Bill chomping The Cigar in Question, bottle rocketing skyward directly between the Twin Towers just before the fall, spiraling rapidly downward through the thorny Bush, exploding, yet still somehow nauseatingly alive and clamoring at our own heels in the very now.

A filthy Benjamin Button rag doll in a stained satin robe once scarlet, now gone the color of spoiling meat; grinning, leering, winking, all without understanding, only referencing dusty memories of lust by phantom reflex, ‘Little Hef’.

The title of a painting? An epic opera played on multiple stages over several days? An Oscar crusted Pixar masterpiece? This? Balls if I know.

You can have it.


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Silver on 03/03/2009 4:43 pm

Too much to think about, Max. It makes you wonder about how things evolve so quickly... And yet how a guy like Hef manages to destroy whatever science may prove to be true by surviving all along.

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JJ the Jetplane on 03/03/2009 5:32 pm

Whenever I read any your writing, Max, I feel as if I've been beaten across the brain with a couple of tons of concrete, leaving dazed and bewildered. Afterward, I must take approximately twenty minutes sitting in a corner of my bedroom, crying, trying to figure out what just happened, what exactly it was that I just read. And you know what, Mr. Burbank? I love every heart-wrenching minute of it. Thank You for improving my life so drastically.

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Tadao on 03/03/2009 5:37 pm


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spidergremlin on 03/03/2009 6:09 pm

What the hell are you going on about, Max?

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HowardC on 03/03/2009 6:40 pm

Seriously. Was this the Seinfeld equivelent of an article because while I understood what you said, you really didn't say much.

Don't get all artsy-fartsy on us friend, this isn't poetry hour.

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Graystreet on 03/03/2009 6:53 pm

HowardC, you are the weakest link, HowardC, you have been kicked off the island, HowardC, you will not be the next America Idol, HowardC, you will not be the next Pussycat Doll, HowardC, you will not be the next Scream Queen, HowardC, you are fired, HowardC, no deal, HowardC, you get no clock, rose, chicken egg, or key, HowardC, you ruined any sense of grammar I had.

Great work, mister Burbank!

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greenimp on 03/03/2009 7:06 pm

HowardC: question for you: are you this much of a pain and embarrassment to be around in real life? all i seem to hear from you is whinge bitch moan complain. if you cant say anything relavant or nice, keep your gob shut.

fantastic as always max, fantastic as always.

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Kat on 03/03/2009 9:32 pm

And yet the idea itself will remain.

Constant. Unchanging. Unaltered. An idea frozen in the distance.

Ironic? Quite.

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captain516 on 03/03/2009 9:39 pm

I'll have to agree with Howard on this one. Little Nemo is awesome,and it IS a wonder how Hefner managed to stay alive for so long,but it looks like you just looked up every other word in the thesaurus. The picture however, is hilarious. Not sure if you intended it to be that way, but I love it.

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mburbank on 03/03/2009 10:46 pm

Little Nemo in where? Slumberland. Hef where's (wears) what? A bathrobe. Little boy dreams are one way to see the world, pubescent lust is another way of seeing everything, but still a dream, hence the pajamas. One leaves off just as the other begins and continues through an entire century right up to this day although in very sad repair to the point now of self parody, which is another way of saying post modernism.

I hope that clears things up.

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Dungeonbrownies on 03/03/2009 10:55 pm

I originally thought the background was porn.

Now im sure of it. XP

But srsly, I cant believe hed's so healthy.
Apparently his libido's died down significantly
(as is natural with age)
But apparently he's still getting more than us. =[

Maybe its like highlander and someone just needs behead him for ultimate lifestyle/longetivity/fantastically medically enhanced bimbos?


RichardA (Guest) on 03/04/2009 10:43 am

Your articles are not good to read with only 3 hours of sleep driving me... I'll try again tonight.

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0dd1 on 03/04/2009 12:08 pm

Very intriguing thought...I never really thought that a man who single handedly proves the theory that sex is healthy can be compared to a child in a comic strip, but I see what you mean. An awe-inspiring, thought-provoking piece of writing, that's what this is.


blessie jane (Guest) on 03/04/2009 12:37 pm

Pierce would approve.

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Tetsu Deinonychus on 03/04/2009 12:53 pm

I love Little Nemo. Even over a hundred years later it's still a fantastic comic (I certainly wouldn't complain if you reviewed it for a Weekly, Max ;) ).

I never thought one could compare Nemo to Hef, but you totally did it. And, in true Max Burbank style.

HowardC, I think it was supposed to be kinda pretentious. That's part of the joke.

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Colonel Flagg on 03/04/2009 1:18 pm

Hugh Hefner. A man barely alive.

Nemo. A child with his entire life ahead of him.

This coming on the heels of the blockbuster megahit "Brad Pitt: The Amazing Reverse-aging Phenomenon!" and the cause for the juxtaposition becomes painfully clear.

This proves conclusively, incidentally, that one can philosophize and satirize in the same article. It's just that Max does it better than most.

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Mental Pooperscooper on 03/04/2009 11:37 pm

I am very confused right now.
somewhere deep in the back of my brain, back before I realized I could pretty much get by with using a machine to do all the work for me. When I used to think, to be creative. I am being told to...


jake (Guest) on 03/05/2009 2:17 pm

what the fuck are you talking about

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Jony B. Good on 03/07/2009 12:54 am

I know! an X-Files episode! or an episode of Lost where Hef is young in the island and someone recognizes him and remembers a story of a little kid that...

No, I don't know, I'm just drunk.

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Colonel Flagg on 03/09/2009 12:50 pm

Factoid - The group Genesis wrote a song about this comic called "Scenes from a Night's Dream". Not that it's any good (Phil Collins has a writing credit for pities sake - how good can it be?) but it proves that somewhere, someone else was thinking about Nemo and his vivid imagination. Long ago, too - 1978 was when the album debuted - but not "turn of the century" old either.

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Akktri on 03/09/2009 10:06 pm

I think Hefner bears more of a resemblance to Flip than Nemo, especially the cigar smoking.

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Jigby Huggletinks on 03/30/2009 7:00 pm

This is... phenomenal.

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Jigby Huggletinks on 03/30/2009 7:00 pm

(Especially when you consider the title of this blabber blog along with the replies. It's rather fitting, when you imagine the completed phrase...)

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