Saturday, June 05, 2004

Jim Carrey's Co-star

Though it's not mentioned in the ad copy, here's a glimpse of the real star of A Series of Unfortunate Events. He appears about half way through the trailer.

He's the one with three eyes.

A Word In Your Ear

Here's something that caught my eye. Or my ear. And best of all, it wiggles.

Dinner Guest

Here's a chance to put your knowledge of frog biology to the test. Can you name the frog and his dinner guest?

Who's On First

Russian Nesting Dolls. The dinner table scene from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas where increasingly tiny servers present a strawberry to little Cindy Lou Who.

As with many things human, Nature thought of it first.

When Kermit Goes Bad

As Reggie mentioned in another post, there's a movie that explores the downside to frog calls.

Frogs came out in 1972, featuring Ray Milland, Sam Elliot, and numerous uncredited frogs. This movie is similar to The Godfather -- for most of the film, the frogs dispatch humans by dispatching other species to make their hits -- in that both movies were filmed.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Bringing My Work Home With Me

Some people bring their work home with them. I'm spared that chore since I work at home: my office is my bedroom -- the wall with a window -- and my bed is my work station. I write on a lapdesk. I prop myself up with five or six pillows. I use bond paper printed with strip panels.

And because that's a lot of white to stare at, and my work station has fitted sheets, and the paper is toasty warm when I pull them from the printer, I also nap.

I love naps. Partly because I'm lazy. And partly because napping is the cusp between dreams and reality. Creativity is dancing -- or sleepwalking -- between the two.

Another bonus: when reading my work puts me to sleep, I can blame it on the bed.

It's Not Always Burping

Burping aside, frogs have occasion to voice other calls. The ones most of us recognize are mating calls, yelled in the spirit of oogling construction workers, while others are more intimate. "Some frog species have aggressive calls made by males towards other males," writes Dr. Patricia Jones. "...some have release calls when one male needs to tell another male to let go (mating in frogs can be a bit hectic)."

Such is the way of all romance.

What amazes me when I listen to these calls is their familiar beauty -- even if the frog isn't native to my area, it sounds like it could be. The frog song is as essential to our soundscape as the insect and the bird and a good radio station.

B-Movie Biology

I remember disemboweling a frog in my High School Biology class. It was messy and comical and far less gruesome than this Flash-animated tutorial. If you look back on similar memories and think: sure, it was educational, but it would have been even more instructive with slasher movie sound effects and an ominous soundtrack, you're in luck.

(I suspect this graphic instruction was designed to spare frogs -- certainly a good thing -- but when the virtual scissors appeared, along with the instruction to twist them while cutting, I wondered why I was offered such a practical detail.)

Frogs Are For Fun

This is the second How-to book I remember. I had several from the Walter Foster series, and I studied them as if my career depended on it (at the time -- elementary school -- I was also considering marine biology, the traditional fall back position for most cartoonists.)

I've lost my copy of Animals Are For Fun. I wonder if there are frogs in it...

Back To the Future

From the confines of my crystal ball (aka my office), I can see into Spot's future for a good three weeks...four, if I'm ahead of my deadline.

In the coming weeks:

Spot is once again saved by origami; Karl explains why he likes baseball; and Bob and Ray (the birds who convinced Spot and Buddy to leap from a birdfeeder last Winter) return to lay claim to some waterfront property.

And speaking of Bob and Ray, I gave them those names because they seemed to fit their personalities as a comic team, ala Bob and Ray.

Weeks later, I remembered that Bob the Turtle was already using half of those names.

Which is why Bob and Ray the birds are anonymous when they reappear. I haven't decided who Bob should be: a bird or a turtle or a verb.

Two of a Kind is a Winning Hand

I know nothing of poker, beyond its celebrity status on a cable channel. But I know this: Greg Evans won the Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year , and Stephan Pastis for Best Newspaper Comic Strip.


Pearls Before Swine

If you'll forgive me one more poker reference: Bravo.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Comics For Radio

KCUR Play List - Your Station For NPR News

Here's a great NPR interview with Jerry Scott, Stephan Pastis, Brian Basset, Jan Elliott and Sandra Boynton, conducted over the Reuben weekend in Kansas City. Click on the 05-28-04 link. And if you're a cartoonist, prepare to take notes.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Minus Nine

According to this listing at the toonopedia, Michigan J. Frog may be the only animated character to enjoy lasting fame, with only a six-minute cartoon to its credit.

I just learned that The Michigan Rag, performed by Michigan J. Frog, was written by Michael Maltese (the writer of the cartoon.) A very belated bravo. The song sounds as authentic as Hello, Ma Baby, another tune in the frog's repetoire.

One Froggy Day From My Childhood

Even before Kermit, this is the frog I remember.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Those Incredible Flying Machines

Some time back I had Karl neck-deep in mud, until Spot and company pulled him out. Here's one idea I didn't use, though I liked it. It's a good day if I can show Buddy yelling.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

If you love comic strips...

Educational. Provocative. Essential for your peace of mind.

The Missing Link Between Nature and Comic

Spot, of course, is more human than frog. But it's good to see that he's not alone.


When I signed with United Media, I had three main characters: Spot, Karl, and Buddy. We decided to run with Spot and Karl for the first several weeks. Ground the strip with two characters. Buddy was constantly lurking over my shoulder, whispering punchlines -- or behind my ankle and yelling them -- waiting to appear. I was glad when February 3 arrived, along with Buddy. Tripods are sturdier than just two legs.

Trading Spaces Redux

My apologies for moving the graphic furniture around. I'm still puzzling out the options, sorting through the prefab templates. Eventually I'll learn how to design the page in my own fashion. Right now I'm living out of boxes and trying new things.

Leap to Arizona

If you happen to be within pricking distance of a cactus, and it's Sunday, check out the Arizona Daily Star.

Froggy Day in London Town

Or wherever you are. When a real frog isn't handy to report the weather, this one should do nicely.