Finally got around to working on the sticky shutter of my 1957 German Kodak Retina IIIc. I think it just has some gunk in it - I took out the lens elements and gave it a thorough, gentle cleaning with some alcohol and it seems to be firing happily at normal speeds (slow speeds, 1/15th and slower, are still kind of sticky, but that’s common in a lot of old cameras, and I don’t plan on using the Retina in very low light, so I’m not bothered).

Blogging Criswell #3 - Hatching Jackets, Fatal Mixture of Teen Age Drugs, Women into Men, and Instant Cremation

"Blogging Criswell" is my look into the crazy, inaccurate world of famed self-proclaimed psychic and prognosticator Criswell, aka Jeron Criswell King, well known as a friend of b-movie legend Ed Wood. Every Friday, I share a few highlights from Criswell’s 1969 book "Criswell Predicts Your Next Ten Years" and offer a bit of commentary. The selections are not edited, so be aware this book is 45 years old and some of the terms and ideas may not strike modern sensibilites in a positive light.

This week on “Blogging Criswell” - Hatching Jackets! Fatal Mixture of Teen Age Drugs! Women Into Men! Instant Cremation!

HATCHING JACKETS
I predict insulated hatching jackets for pregnant women! These new jackets, hermetically sealed to protect against extreme cold or heat, with built-in medication and protection from pain, will be a boon to all expectant mothers! They will be smartly tailored in all the decorator’s colors, to match the eyes and complexion! This will be a big seller in the spring and summer of 1975!
(pg. 23)

Sure, because what woman wouldn’t want to wear something called a “hatching jacket?” Dames, chickens, same difference, amirite, fellas?

FATAL MIXTURE OF TEEN AGE DRUGS
I predict that the present teen age drug problem will end in dire tragedy! The climate changes will make many drug mixtures fatal, and rather than becoming vegetables upon use, the person will be the victim of death! The drugs will effect (sp) the juices in the body, and a gurgling death will result! I predict that over one million teen agers will die from deadly drugs, which climate will make more deadly still!
(pg. 25)

THE JUICES IN THE BODY! Yes! Why get more specific, Cris? Just wave it away with “juices.” Also, “teenage drugs made more deadly by climate change” sounds just, like, a mutant killer animal away from being a SyFy original movie.

WOMEN INTO MEN
I predict it will be a very common and inexpensive operation to change a woman into a man with the simple transplant of the sex organ! This grafting from a recently expired man, can take hold and not be rejected, as is a heart or kidney! A new series of male hormon shots can reduce the breasts, cause body hair to grow, the voice to deepen and the skin to roughen…and behold, a new man from the figure of a woman! The testis and penis can be grafted as easily as you would graft skin. Many women of an undecided mind can make the change!
(pg. 25)

Just how “inexpensive” did Criswell think that sex reassignment surg…wait, RECENTLY EXPIRED man? That seems a touch morbid. I’m surprised Cris didn’t predict we’d just be able to grow new sex organs in conveniently-located storefront clinics.

INSTANT CREMATION
I predict that within five years you can be instantly cremated! Your body will be placed in a metal box, a tiny bomb exploded, and a thimble full of ashes will be all that will remain of your earthly temple! This can be placed in a shot gun shell, shot into the air, and you will be scattered to the four winds! The cost will be $100 complete, including five copies of your death certificate, a cremation permit and a memorial service! Your relatives or friends must deliver your body to the crematory. However, all movement of a dead body by public transportation will be denied, due to the heavy street traffic!
(pg. 26)

What in the hell does the public transportation line have to do with, well, anything? What heavy street traffic? What are you talking about? Also, one would think that “heavy street traffic” would be pretty far down the list of “reasons you would be denied from moving a dead body via public transportation.”
I
really want to know how Criswell thinks this “tiny bomb” will be able to instantly cremate a full-sized human being, unless he think it’s a tiny atomic bomb.

See you again next week on “Blogging Criswell!”

"Blogging Criswell" is my look into the crazy, inaccurate world of famed self-proclaimed psychic and prognosticator Criswell, aka Jeron Criswell King, well known as a friend of b-movie legend Ed Wood. Every Friday, I share a few highlights from Criswell’s 1969 book "Criswell Predicts Your Next Ten Years" and offer a bit of commentary. The selections are not edited, so be aware this book is 45 years old and some of the terms and ideas may not strike modern sensibilites in a positive light.

This week on “Blogging Criswell” - Rebuilding of Women! Triumphant Tangle! Respect Will Triumph!

REBUILDING OF WOMEN
I predict a new science “Femology” (the rebuilding of women) will soon be most popular, where a woman can go into a free clinic and have her face lifted, a new hair line, reduce many, many pounds, have breasts reshaped and even a vaginal improvement! This new super-health-spa, with built-in diet and medical advice, will be a boon to all American women! Yes, there will be a national campaign of “rebuilding of women” in your life very, very soon!
(pg. 19)

First off, no, Criswell does not elaborate on what those, er, “improvements” might be. I love the total nuttiness of this prediction, but it’s pushed over the top by the appearance of our first illustration - yes, dear readers, every once in a while, “Criswell Predicts Your Next Ten Years” throws a weird illustration at you for some of the predictions. These are credited to Lewis N. Schilling, Jr., who appears to have no further art credits. Here’s a photo of the “Rebuilding of Women” illustration - and yes, they’re all this weird:

TRIUMPHANT TANGLE
I predict that a new wave of suicides among our youth will prove what a triumphant tangle they have made of their lives! They will know that they cannot fight the establishment. They are a part of it! The old fashioned precepts of God, Home, Mother and the American Flag are not old fashioned, but more alive, active and revered than ever before! The light in the forest is always there and we unconsciously walk in that direction! The night is dark and our youth is far from home, and it is our duty to at least point the way! The Establishment will never break, but people only break themselves against it!
(pg. 20)

Criswell does not appear to believe in the Oxford comma. And didn’t I tell you he’d get more mileage out of that “only break against it” line? Also, this is kind of a weird usage of the word “triumphant,” but whatever, C-well.
This prediction is a good example of the occasional viewpoints that drop in from time to time that we’d call “conservative” these days. Whether Criswell actually believed this or whether he was just writing to sell books to Joe Average American in his ranch house who didn’t understand these hippy dippy types, I’m not sure.
Also, I hate to point out that, if the light in the forest is always there and we unconsciously walk in that direction, why do we have to point the way for our youth? It’s almost as though Criswell was a bit nuts and didn’t always think these things through…

RESPECT WILL TRIUMPH
I predict respect will triumph and it will be a felony to transpose religious and national secular songs into other musical patterns, for either comic or insult purposes! The public will revolt against hearing “Eli, Eli,” “Ava (sp) Maria,” “Lead Kindly Light,” “America” and “The Star Spangled Banner” sung in drunken psychodelic style, and will demand that Congress enact this new law for respect!
(pg. 22)

The “drunken psychodelic style” might be my one of my favorite expressions now, and I want an excuse to work it into conversation.
This is another weirdly old-fashioned prediction, and I love the severity of it - a FELONY to sing religious or national songs in a less-than-totally-serious manner. Never stop being crazy, Criswell.

See you again next week on “Blogging Criswell!”

"Blogging Criswell" is my look into the crazy, inaccurate world of famed self-proclaimed psychic and prognosticator Criswell, aka Jeron Criswell King, well known as a friend of b-movie legend Ed Wood. Every Friday, I share a few highlights from Criswell’s 1969 book "Criswell Predicts Your Next Ten Years" and offer a bit of commentary. The selections are not edited, so be aware this book is 45 years old and some of the terms and ideas may not strike modern sensibilites in a positive light.

For the start of this feature, I’m going to include Criswell’s foreword along with a few predictions. I’m following his formatting here, so there’ll be a bold/all caps header followed by the text. None of these entries are edited by me in any way, and are just as they are written in the book.

FOREWORD
O my Friend…
Let us pause for a moment!
For after us the deluge!
Our glittering world will soon be a smoldering cinder of a world!
The sins we do one by one are paid for two by two!
And in the next ten years, the story will be told!
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls for it might be for you!
Scientists tell us that we are a world of duplicates, triplicates, and trillionates…for this world and every item in it is duplicated a trillion times over in the vast universe of nearby space! Why should you feel lonely when you have a trillion counterparts? Do the other trillion feel as lonely as you? Are you fair to them?
The coming ten years may frighten you, but remember, of all the times to be alive, this is the time!
On this purgatory planet, I predict we will survive. But, while we live…the deluge!
(Pg. 13)

The book’s foreword sets the tone for what you’re about to read pretty well. This, o friend, is how Criswell writes. Very flowery and often borderline nonsensical, and virtually every sentence ending with an exclamation mark. Read it using his voice in your head for maximum entertainment value.

CURTAIN GOING UP
Yes, my friend, the curtain is going up on the most exciting ten years of the 20th century! You have a front row seat…reserved just for you!
Of all the time to be alive, the time is now!
The orchestra is in an overture!
The actors, you and I, are moving into our stage positions!
The lights brighten…the music swells…and the curtain rises!
You and I among every man, woman, and child on earth are in the cast…all controlled by the Supreme Puppet Master Himself…and motivated by orders from above!
We are both the cast and the audience and the world is the theater!
We laugh at our mistakes and make our own jokes!
We are at the core of every crisis, every event and any joy!
We keep our eye on the program, and can hiss the villian and applaud the hero!
For that very villian and that hero is a part of you and me!
The marvels of the next ten years will seem like miracles to us now, but in 1980 we will take them for granted!
On with the show!
(Pg. 15)

On with the show, indeed. Criswell wastes no time bending the rules of grammar and sanity with some of this stuff - “For that very villian and that hero is a part of you and me!” He also seems to consistently spell “villain” as “villian,” and apparently nobody at the publisher thought to correct this.

TINDERBOX
I predict that Mexico will become a tinderbox for America, as it will be politically controlled by Castro Communism within this period! Communism is communism in any form, just as it is impossible to be just a “little bit pregnant!” Yes, Mexico is a tinderbox!
(Pg. 16)

I love the out-of-left-field pregnancy thing in this one. And who can forget Mexico’s rise as a Communist power in the ’70s? Also, this highlights Criswell’s peculiar habit of basically re-stating the premise of his first sentence in his last. It’s a recurring tic of his style.

STRANGER THAN FICTION
I predict that the coming ten years will be stranger than fiction! In the Grand Plan of the Lhama, in practical, yet mystic Tibet, the sign of the Tarot for the years from 1970 to 1980 is the Chariot! The Chariot is drawn by a black horse and a white horse, one is the negative force and the other the positive force of the Universe! There are no reins held by the driver, but these black/white forces are controlled by the mind, and the mind alone! We shall reach the mental peak of the 20th century in these years! The peak of science, invention, medicine, exploration and expression! We can offer no answer - all is clearly shown - no further bondage - triumph - personal liberty with the blood of heroes coursing through our bodies! Yes, I predict 1970-1980 will be stranger than fiction!
(Pg. 17)

I swear to you, I am not editing these in any way. This is, verbatim, what Criswell wrote. I’m not sure it makes any damned logical sense at all. If you, dear reader, can unpack the meaning of that next-to-last sentence, you are a better person than I. We can glean that, apparently, the peak of human existence is the stretch from 1970-1980, which is depressing to think about. Also, Tibet is “practical, yet mystic” - good to know.

PANDEMONIUM
I predict that pandemonium will reign in Washington, D.C. with a wave of suicides of top government officials due to their proven treason, when they sold out the human race for red gold! We cannot break the law, we only break ourselves against it!
(Pg. 17)

Presumably, by “red gold” Criswell means Communist gold. And make note of that “we only break ourselves against it” line - you might be seeing it again in future installments.

Next week on “Blogging Criswell”: Red flows the River Nile! Campaign funds! Rebuilding of Women!