Tuesday, December 27, 2011

See You Soon

I'm spending some time with family this week. Be back shortly.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Great Ham Caper

My wife, Stacy, wrote a poem way back in Christmas 2006. The poem is about us and our cats, Rufus and Sam.

Her poem was well received, and it's been rerun annually since then. Hard to believe that since we moved we have adopted
Yes, that makes five.

For auld lang syne, here is the poem again, starring our two cats from Brooklyn, Rufus and Sam:

The Great Ham Caper

Words by Stacy Lynch
Pictures by Mike Lynch

’Twas the week before Christmas
When Rufus and Sam
Hatched a devious scheme
To make off with the ham!

The ham that would grace
The holiday table!
Roo was the brains.
Sam, wiry and able.

They devised a plan
Of Goldbergian proportions
With pulleys and weights
And kitty contortions.

And on Christmas day
They’d eat until stuffed
(The very idea
Made their tails slightly puffed!)

’Til then, they’d lay low,
Little angels to see.
But that made us suspicious –
Wouldn’t you be?

So we snooped and we sleuthed
And uncovered their caper -
“The Ham-Stealing Plan”
Diagrammed on a paper!

“No silly cat’s gonna
Steal my roast beast,”
Exclaimed Mike. “Just watch,
I’ll ruin their feast!”So he countered their scheming
With mad plans all his own
And all I could do
Was inwardly groan!

Who’d win this contest
Of wits they were planning?
Would Mike, Roo or Sam -
Be last man or cat standing?

As Christmas day dawned
The four of us waited
For the ham to be served
With breaths that were bated.

But before the main course
Could even be plated
Their plans took a turn.
Some say it was fated...

What happened to stop them
So cold in their tracks?
Why, cat-nip and husb-nip
(in big canvas sacks)Was all that it took
To stop their foul warring.
And they rolled and purred
And drooled on the flooring.And as long as I kept
My fingers and toes
Away from a hubby and two cats
In nip’s throes -
My own Christmas day
Turned out merry and calm;
The ham moist and succulent,
The champagne, a balm.

When they “awoke”,
hostilities abated,
We all ate some ham
And went to bed sated.

And such peace we wish
To you and to yours:
An end to fighting;
An end to wars.

Happy Holidays!

Mike and Stacy and Rufus and Sam

UPDATE: and Trout and Dexter and Dropcloth.

Friday, December 23, 2011


 DON'T LOOK NOW BUT IT'S CHRISTMAS AGAIN is a small paperback by Fritz Wegner and is copyright 1983 by same. Published by Patrick Hardy Books, this wonderfully rendered volume shows us Santa, angels, shepherds, flocks, Botticelli and pretty much anything related to ye olde tyme Chistmases.

Before seeing this, I had never heard of Fritz Wegner. Heck, I couldn't find his site. Windriver Studios has a short bio here

Fritz Wegner was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924, but was naturalized as a British subject. He studied at St. Martins School of Art from 1939 to 1942, and later became a guest lecturer. He eventually began doing freelance work, which included exhibition design for the Ministry of Agriculture royal shows.

Wegner's professional career has encompassed stamp design, advertising for English and American clients, and illustrations in books, magazines and periodicals. He is ardent about illustrating children's books and has enjoyed collaborating on the production of religious advent cards. Collecting prints, books and musical instruments and painting for pleasure are a few of the activities that occupy his spare time.
I like his cartoon style, with its almost painterly pen noodling.Some of the gags are great. These are just a few samples.

Video: Signe Wilkinson invites local pols to cartoon in her place

Philadelphia Daily News editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson invites politicians to cartoon while she vacations.

Philly mayor Michael Nutter bravely takes up the challenge. More here.

From the Daily News article by Jen Howard:

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, State Representative Dwight Evans, City Council member Marian Tasco and acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley accepted her challenge, but with tepid results.

"These cartoons are pretty gentle," said Wilkinson.

Nutter drew his himself--a handful of stick figures sweeping a city street.

Video: MIT researchers unravel the physics of how cats drink

Boston Globe staffer Carolyn Y. Johnson has more here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SCTV Video: Perry Como: Still Alive (1981)

 Not SCTV: above: Joe Penner asks Lyda Roberti "Wanna buy a duck?" from Paramount's COLLEGE RHYTHM (1934) via Craig Hodgkins' informative Joe Penner site.

You never know what comedy will last. For every Laurel and Hardy, there's a lesser known Lum and Abner or the Ritz Brothers.The number one radio comedian used to be Joe Penner way back before Jack Benny arrived. And who remembers Joe Penner? (Penner had several catch phrases, one of the more popular was "Wanna buy a duck?" which is preserved in Warner Brothers cartoons. Its original reference forgotten, the line remains as an odd non sequitor.)

TV Critic David Bianculli was on NPR's Fresh Air show last week (podcast link here). He mentioned the college media course that he teaches. When talking about TV comedy, he said he shows clips from the Smothers Brothers Show, Monty Python, the old SNL and SCTV.

The clip that got the biggest laughs was SCTV's 1981 "Perry Como: Still Alive" concert commercial parody starring Eugene Levy. Bianculli did set the clip up (Is Como forgotten like Penner now?) with a talk about Como's reputation. He played the clip and the students were laughing all the way through it. For me, it's funny also for Rick Moranis dancing in an afro wig. Here's the vid:

The college kids laughing make me hopeful that SCTV will go the way of Benny and not Penner.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SEX REARS ITS LOVELY HEAD edited by Jerome Beatty, Jr.

Some great gag cartoons from a very well-worn copy of SEX REARS ITS LOVELY HEAD, "a rib-splitting collection of cartoons about the biological urge assembled from the best of America's foremost family magazines," edited by Jerome Beatty, Jr. and copyright 1956 by Bantam Books, Inc.

This is a collection of cartoons that originally appeared in all of the A-list publications of the day: Collier's, Look, The Saturday Evening Post, This Week, Cosmopolitan, Ladies' Home Journal and The American. And these are some of the major cartoonists of the day. Burr Shafer provides the cover.

Part two is here.

Part three is here

Part four is here.

Wenzel could draw pretty girls and made a career doing just that.

Bill Harrison's cartoon (below) is a great one.

I had to look at Clyde Lamb's cartoon a couple of times before I got it:

Dana Fradon:

Misha Richter:

I like how Greg D'Alessio gives us a complete sense of place and fashion.

Below: Bob Barnes gives this gag a nice twist:

Below: Syd Hoff with a bit of racy advice from mother!

Ted Key's body language depiction is spot-on!

Gardner Rea echoes Bill Harrison's cartoon. Putting the knife in the bride's hand is a wonderful touch.

The two lovers in the balloons is one of my favorites. I have no idea who drew it, though.

Below: I like the slap dash style, but see no signature. My guess: Reamer Keller.

Below: a Gardner Rea cartoon that would not be published today:

Virgil VIP Partch has a certain view of the world that is loopy and odd and very lovely to see:

And here's another one from VIP:

Part two is here.

Part three is here

Part four is here.

My thanks to Ed Tucciarone for passing along this book to me. Thank you, Ed!