Friday, February 11, 2005

Frog In His Throat

When you consider a book, CD or DVD at Amazon, the site will suggest another title. If you like Maynard Ferguson, you might also enjoy Buddy Rich. But if you click on the above album, which features classic recordings of frogs and toads, Amazon suspects you'll enjoy the music of Tom Waits.

There's a certain world-weary bullfrog quality to his voice, but it seemed odd to see it spelled out.

Clutch Cartooning

I was browsing through Cartoon Brew and came across the stunning news that Clutch Cargo will soon be out on DVD. I'm assuming these will be real DVDs, and not just boxes with the word DVD printed on them. I'm fairly certain I'll be renting one. Time to confront the horrible memory I have of this show. While I enjoyed watching Bob Hoskins interact with Roger Rabbit, I'm not sure I would have stayed to watch his disembodied lips do the same trick.

Preview 3

Still impending, still cropped, but perhaps less mysterious.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Party Crasher

Last summer Spot -- and a party hat -- tried to infiltrate the Birds Only bird bath.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Ad Redux

Since I missed the Superbowl ads, I've been given a second chance.

(via Andertoons Cartoon Blog)

Spot 2.0

Starting with the February 28 Spot, you'll notice a change in the lettering. I'm switching to all-caps, the traditional format for comics strips and cartoons in general. I started the strip with upper and lower case because I'd been lettering my greeting cards that way, and the motions were inscribed in my muscle memory. But comic strips are wee things. With all those ascenders and descenders thrusting and dangling about, sentences threaten to tangle with other sentences. And if you've seen me decipher a tight knot in a shoelace, you know I hate that sort of thing.

Also: to make the lower case letters legible, I had to make them large, which, depending on the needs of the artwork, left the characters speaking in haiku. And because I tweak the words quite a bit, it's often a challenge to shift them around -- or replace them -- when the new words might be bristling with ascenders like caterpillars with fierce antennas. If all of the words share the same height, it's a simpler matter to rearrange them.

A small thing, perhaps. But when it comes to comic strips, everything's small.

Contemplating the Future

Karl and Spot contemplate their strip for 2/14.

Oddly enough, it won't have anything to do with Valentine's Day. I try to keep an eye on the holidays, but my focus must be off. (There will be a Valentine Sunday, however.)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Jazz And Listening

I just finished watching Ray. A fine movie. Early on Ray Charles hears Art Tatum in a night club. He recognizes Tatum's playing immediately. I don't know if the musicians met later on, but they had more than jazz in common. Courtesy of Jazz and Conversation, quoting from Jazz by Ken Burns:
"One evening Fats Waller was playing in a New York club when he heard a stir in the audience. A large heavy man was making his way among the tables. Waller stopped playing. 'Ladies and gentlemen' he said. 'I just play piano, but God is in the house'. Then he left the piano bench so Tatum could take over."

"He was born in Toledo in 1909, totally blind in one eye and nearly sightless in the other. He began picking out tunes on the piano at three, was playing hymns in church at five, and trying to imitate the piano rolls his mother brought home for him to hear. According to his neighbor, the singer Jon Hendricks, he even mastered one lightning-fast duet, not knowing it took four hands to record the original. He had a memory for melody so photographic, that he rarely had to hear a tune more than once to play it back with embellishments, and an ear for pitch so uncanny that he could tell the denomination of a coin dropped on a table by the sound it made."

Rain Forest Marbles

When I saw these, I flashed back to elementary school, when playing marbles in the playground was big business, and the glass balls were as exotic and beautiful as Poison Dart Frogs.

I don't know much about Poison Dart Frogs, beyond their explicable name. But I'm fairly certain they were never used as marbles.

Sitting here, I can almost feel the jumbled weight of marbles in my pocket, brushed clean of sand or mud. I bought Mary a bag of marbles one Christmas, thinking we'd dig a hole in the snow and relive old memories, until I learned she'd never played marbles. This shouldn't have stopped me from filling a hole with marbles, but the bag is still clean and intact and hanging from a doorknob.

That's probably the best way to display certain memories.

Priceless Animation

As I mentioned, I probably won't be watching the Superbowl this year. But if I did, it would be for the ads (such as this one for Mastercard...I was so entranced by the Morton Salt girl in the bottom right it took several viewings before I noticed the Jolly Green Giant in the window.) I have the suspicion, however, that if I miss the ads during the game, I'll have fresh opportunities to catch them.

(via Cartoon Brew)

Built For Speed

This turtle figurine appears every year around Christmas because it's part of the casual stable we've assembled for our holiday creche. This year it jumped to the floor, perhaps seeking a new career, or a chance to modify the stable demographics. But as the Broadway blessing goes, "Break a leg," and it did. Lost it completely.

I mention the turtle because I often feel like one, missing leg and all. Today I'm plodding through three dailies, in hopes of finishing them before the Superbowl (which I won't be watching, but we have Ray cued up in the dvd player.)

The Man With No Name and No Clothes

I don't recall a name. I don't recall clothes. But I remember his integrity. Regardless of the many embarrassments he suffered, he was a man who was always himself and could never be bought.

Until now.

I'm Ready For My Close-up

For those occasions when you misplace your driver's license, here's a convenient backup.

(via boingboing)