Saturday, November 22, 2008

While Sarah slaughters syntax, man slaughters turkey

Why do so few of her sentences have subjects? Just wonderin' about that. Tryin' to figure it out, gosh darn ya. And lookin' at the guy behind her. The one who can hardly do his slaughterin' job 'cause he's so darn distracted by Sarah. Bet he's thinkin', "Oh, just doin' her subjectless sentence thing."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another thrilling account of my adventures in the natural world

What a great day Sunday was. And by "great" I mean, of course, practically windless. Just the slightest breeze and sunny skies. Mild temperature. The kind of day that can make a person do things they might ordinarily avoid. Like raking leaves.

So it was that in the late afternoon I ventured forth with rake and bags to relieve the yard of the stress of thousands of pin oak, maple and sycamore leaves which had the audacity to flounce about atop the weeds and grasses (more of the former than the latter) which I like to think of as my front lawn. In the Rockwood area where I reside there are lots and lots of trees. The developers in 1961 had the foresight to plant oaks in every yard. Today we reap the benefits in the form of shade, tranquility, steady home values and of course, leaves.

For the most part I really don't mind raking leaves. I've tried the leaf blowers and the mulching mower route, they have their place but there's a sort of solace to be taken from the calm movement of rake across grass. And God knows I've got the time. The layoff saw to that.

Neighbors strolled by, some stopping for brief chats. A squirrel or two chattered on some of the lower branches, mocking Ollie who was constrained by the backyard gate and reduced to a few taunting barks which seemed to delight the squirrels even more.I filled six 55-gallon bags with leaves and was almost through just as the sun had moved below the tops of trees and houses when I heard the throaty calls of Canadian geese in the distance. I looked up just in time to see a beautiful v-formation of them, maybe 15 or 20. The striking thing about them was that their chests seemed to be blazing as the red-orange of the sunset reflected off their white breast feathers.

I realized that I had just been shown the reason that all those leaves fell. It was so people would rake them, look up at the darkening blue of that Sunday's early evening sky and be regaled by a sunset's reflection off the chests of Canadian geese. There's a reason for everything.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Come see us!

When I'm not studying Eckhart Tolle, here's what I'm doing

A couple of people have asked me lately what I'm up to. (Obviously NOT updating this blog like I should be.)

Wichita Magazine has done some extensive interviewing of yours truly for an upcoming profile. I'm not sure how in the world they'll make me interesting enough to warrant any copy but if Drew Bratcher can't do it, no one can. He's the new editor, fresh from several years as a writer on the well-respected Washingtonian Magazine. I've read some of his pieces for them and am thoroughly impressed. But he's got his work cut out for him on that Crowson story. I'll be launching a new monthly cartoon series for them if all goes according to plan as well, which I'm excited about. All I can say right now is that it involves everyone's favorite rodent hereabouts, the prairie dog.

There is a chance that I'll be working more regularly with KMUW in an as-yet-to-be-defined capacity but probably not including goofy banjo tunes.

One thing I'm very psyched about is the possibility of working in the Wichita schools through the Arts Partners program. As one of their roster of artists I would be doing workshops and presentations for varying age groups on editorial cartooning, the joy of drawing, banjo picking and quantum chromodynamics. Ok, just kidding about the quantum whatever. I've always enjoyed speaking to and working with kids through my frequent ventures as Eagle cartoonist into classrooms.

I'll be appearing at Johnston's Clothiers on Saturday, November 22, from 11 until 2. They've booked me to hang around the store and draw caricatures of hapless customers. I've never done anything like that before so it should be a fun challenge.

On the evenings of November 20, 21 and 22 I'll be accompanying the Newton Chorale in concert for some Stephen Foster tunes, another exciting first. I'm looking forward to blending the banjo with some seriously accomplished vocalists.

I'm also booked for several evenings of Christmas shows as a fill-in out at the original Prairie Rose Chuckwagon, where I'll be replacing one of their musicians who'll be out of town.

My wife Karen, Phil Burress an whoever else shows up will be performing at Watermark Books Cafe this Saturday. Yikes. That's tomorrow. We play from 5 until 7 and it's free.

So those are some of the ways I'm filling my time these days. Plus most mornings I'm appearing on the streets of my neighborhood walking Ollie. Now that's a good gig!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008


You need to watch this video to understand.

Miracles and friends

Sooner or later we are bound to have some cold and rainy weather but so far how can you not be invigorated by these sunny, mild and leafy Autumn days? Ollie and I had another splendid time on our walk a few hours ago. We both spent a good deal of it gazing up at the trees. Ollie was meditating on the likelihood of cats and squirrels becoming immobilized by the sheer force of his awesome dog brainwaves, tumbling earthward into his widely gaping jaws. Apparently his brainwaves were not quiet up to the job as no small furry entities fell from the trees this morning.

What did fall, of course, were leaves. That's what got me looking towards the limbs above us. I think it's a small miracle every time I happen to witness a leaf falling. Really, if you think about it, that leaf has been budding, growing and waving from that branch for six months. What are the odds that out of the 259,200 minutes that comprise a leaf's life, I would be looking at the very minute it turns loose from it's hold on that little limb and spirals to the ground?

When they fall in great bunches it can be harder to surround a leaf's floating journey with the stillness required to appreciate the significance of the event. But when just one drifts down the miracle is easier to recognize.

I was in the mood for such small affirmations on this Monday morning in particular as it was a sad weekend. Our family bid adieu to some very close friends, Randy, Karla, Connor and Anna Scholfield, who left for Colorado on Saturday. While we know that in these times more than ever it's easy to stay in touch with others over long distances, saying farewell is still hard. The friends you make when your and their children are small, can be as close as family and even closer if you're like us and your family is several states away.

So walking by their empty house was an eye-reddening moment. Ollie sniffed at their fence for his dog friends, Mugs and Baxter, left his usual calling card and we went on into the morning. I soon found diversion in the aforementioned leaf spectacle and Ollie tried to mentally-telepath a noisy squirrel to the ground. We love our morning walk and our old friends.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Escaped rhino drill at Japanese zoo

I like the way his ears gently wiggle as he walks.

They don't make 'em like this anymore

Wow. I just love those "shaver" grills on those 1954 Buicks. This Roadmaster is up for bid on Ebay right now. I know I should be paying attention to John McCain on Saturday Night Live right this very minute. He just did his opening skit and all America was watching and I'm an (unemployed) editorial cartoonist and there's no reason on God's green earth why I shouldn't be watching it in order to keep up with all the latest political crap but you've gotta see this Buick.

The perfect color scheme as well. Man. My friend, Tim came over tonight and mentioned it as something I'd most likely salivate over. He was right. I'm voting for that 1954 Buick Roadmaster for president. We don't need a Maverick. We need a Roadmaster.