Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Great Ham Caper

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

Her poem was got some serious Web traffic, and it's been rerun annually since. Since we moved we have adopted a few more cats.

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 Dexter and Dropcloth and Fergus.

Happy Holidays, everyone. It's snowing here, so I gotta get more wood in and then, fire up the snowblower. Such is winter! This here blog will be quiet for a short time. I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Visit From St. Nicholas (To the Moon) by Walt Kelly

It's Christmas time and that means that it's time to sing our favorite carol ("Deck Us All With Boston Charlie") and read "A Visit From St. Nicholas (To the Moon)" as reimagined by the one and only Walt Kelly (with "apologies to Clement Moore," natch).

It's originally from a POGO book titled GONE POGO (1961, Simon & Schuster). It would be printed once more, 26 years later, newly colored by Joe Orlando (!) and Angelina Genduso, for the December 20, 1987 edition of the Daily News Magazine.

This is all copyright the Walt Kelly Estate, with Jay Maeder's piece copyright 1987 by Jay or maybe The NY Daily News. Click to enjoy them is giant Kelly inky glory.

Here is a background on Walt Kelly written by Jay Maeder. Jay describes Kelly as

"... a fairly irascible soul, given to the fine Irish melancholia and possessed of no immense generosity of spirit when it came to his fellow human specimens.'People are basically idiots,' he reflected in one published interview. 'It may come as a surprise to find you're an idiot, but the fact remains you are.'"

Well, the dichotomy is there: here's a former Disney animator, comic book funny animal artist, and, okay, yes, he may have occasionally been a Scrooge in real life, but judge him not by what he says, but by what he has done. He is, after all, the man who gave us POGO.

Maybe it sounds idiotic to you, but Happy Christmas to you, Mr. Kelly! We miss you.

-- Originally published December 17, 2009.

#‎hohodooda‬ Holiday Sketches by Mike Lynch Week 3

What? Even MORE new #‎hohodooda‬ Holiday sketches by me, Mike Lynch? Yes. (The ones I drew earlier are here and here.)

What is  #‎hohodooda‬ you may very well ask?

Here's the deal: Illustrators, both pro and am, sketch up a doodle a day and share them. The only rule is that it's holiday-themed.

Elf Portrait:

James T. Kringle:

Marley's Raspberry:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ice Storm 2013!

Ice Storm 2013! Photos of my yard and my street today during the freezing rain today. Get your crampons out!

Tschaikowsky's Nutcracker Suite in Dance Tempo by Freddie Martin and his Orchestra

Found this great 78RPM album at a thrift store. Took a photo of it. Did not buy it since I have no turntable.

But, lo and behold, Gregory May on YouTube has put the whole thing up. Wow!

Ten Books That Influenced Me Meme

Thanks to my friend Mark Ricketts, I heard about this meme: pick ten books that influenced you and let us all know about it. And don't spend a lot of time messing around. Just pick 'em as they pop up in your head.

My head is a large and musty place, so it took a little doing, but here goes. It's in no particular order, here are the books:

PLAIN SPEAKING by Merle Miller
Truman is one of my favorite historical figures. Ask anyone who's dropped by and seen my bookshelves. I have a shelf devoted to him.

THE ANNOTATED ALICE by Martin Gardner (and Lewis Carroll, natch!)
I used to carry this around in my backpack in high school. I was such a nerd boy.

BARNABY AND MR. O'MALLEY by Crockett Johnson
Forever grateful to Dad for passing along his copy of this great comic strip.

The first book I bought with my own money. It was a lot! I think it was $10. I used to copy Dick Sprang's Batman a lot.

My go-to dinosaur book, finally bought for me when I renewed and renewed the book from the Iowa City Public Library. I still have my copy, which I would tote to Roosevelt Elementary School for show and tell. And there's still a "Mike Lynch, Mrs. Panje, 2nd Grade" written in it. I wonder where Mrs. Panje is now?

The LITTLE TIM books by Edward Ardizzone
I love Ardizzone's work. Some of the best drawing around. A prolific illustrator back in the day. He was Great Britain's Official War Artist! Only recently I have learned he was never formally trained in illustration!

I have all of Dad's Simon and Shuster POGO books and this one gets singled out for the "Account of the Wooful Frog" piece. Kelly is the comic strip touchstone for me. None better.

THE COMICS by Jerry Robinson
The one that hooked me. And when I visited Ger Apeldoorn, he showed me his copy and told me that that was the book that got him interested in comics and their history! That was it. Friends forever!

Maybe the best account of an expedition. In this case, it's Robert Scott's last Antarctic expedition. Another book recommended by Dad. It's a wowser!

SKIPPY by Percy Crosby
If there's a close second to POGO, it's SKIPPY. Highly popular in its day, and now the focus of a reprint series of books authorized by Percy Crosby's daughter, Joan Crosby Tibbetts. I got to know Joan over the email, and then we met in person at a National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards weekend. Anyway, SKIPPY was Charles Schulz' favorite comic strip growing up and even now, decades later, it crackles with life for me.

That's ten for me. How about you?