Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Great Ham Caper

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

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

It's bittersweet now, since big red Rufus died on December 5, 2014. It was cancer and there was nothing we could have done. He had a wonderful life. He adored Stacy, who tamed him from a wild cat from the big city to a sweet, round, purring house cat. He had no idea he was on the Internet, of course. In the middle of Covid, Sam got very sick and passed away. Out two beloved Brooklyn kitties. They are dearly missed.

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, the "new" cats: Dexter and Fergus and Tank.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

It's time to be with family. So, this blog will be quiet for a time. I'll see you soon.


Friday, December 23, 2022

Happy Holidays

Lights flickering here. But we will keep the spirit alive. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

From the Dick Buchanan Files: The Old Joke Cemetery 1941 - 1963

There is nothing like an old joke ... thank goodness. Here are some real groaners courtesy of Dick Buchanan and his Cartoon Clip File located somewhere in Greenwich Village. In today's episode, The Cartoon Clip entertains an old friend and, obviously, old gag cartoons happen. Go see! Thanks and take it away, Dick!


Laugh In Peace 1941 - 1963

The Cartoon Clip was recently delighted to entertain one of our long-time friends, Riley Civilization. Some may remember Riley from his days as a professional Musical Chairs Player. Today he is a Joke Delivery Systems Analyst. Naturally we always have a great time when he comes calling. As usual, our lively banter and witty repartee leads us to a discussion of the merits of our mutual favorite Joke Delivery System, the single panel gag cartoon. This time Riley brought along a cardboard suitcase full of some gag cartoons he’s discovered and wished to contribute to our Old Joke Cemetery. When he opened the suitcase, we found a collection of small, seemingly amusing cartoons which, when viewed separately, one at a time, didn’t seem that funny but, when considered all together, as tiny bits of a vast tableau, added up to one big zero. In fact, Riley’s gag cartoon collection looked very much like our own collection. In other words, it was just the kind of stuff we like to haul to the Old Joke Cemetery. So, Take a look . . .

1. WILL JOHNSON. The American Legion Magazine February, 1947.


2. GLENN BERNHARDT. Riley pointed out that this gag cartoon was a version of a routine from Jackie Coogan’s 1925 silent film The Rag Man. American Legion Magazine October, 1963.


3. JEFF MONAHAN. The Saturday Evening Post October 1, 1960.


4. JOE ZEIS. The Saturday Evening Post June 15, 1957.


5. CEM (Charles E. Martin) Collier’s June 25, 1955.


6. CHON DAY. Collier’s June 25, 1955.


7. TOM HUDSON. Collier’s April 4, 1953.


8. CLYDE LAMB. 1000 Jokes Magazine Spring, 1954.


9. GEORGE WOLFE. The Saturday Evening Post November 14, 1953.


10. BILL KING. Collier’s June 13, 1953.


11. NED HILTON. Collier’s January 26, 1952.


12. CHARLES PEARSON. American Legion Magazine January, 1947.


13. LEW FOLLETTE. The Saturday Evening Post January 29, 1955.


14. HARRY LYONS. The Saturday Evening Post March 23, 1957.


15. DAVID PASCAL. Collier’s May 11, 1956.


16. LEONARD DOVE. Collier’s March 22, 1941.


17. BO BROWN. Collier’s April 18, 1953.


18. AL KAUFMAN. The Saturday Post February 20, 1954.


19. JANE SPEAR KING. Collier’s December 16, 1950.


20. JACK TYRELL. 1000 Jokes Magazine September – November, 1956.


21. THURSTON GENTRY. American Magazine January, 1945.


22. GARDNER REA. American Legion Magazine February, 1963.




Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Some Tom Browne Comic Drawings from Brush Pen and Pencil


Tom Browne was a British illustrator and cartoonist. He was a nobody from Nottingham, who started out making a living as an errand boy at age twelve. He later became an apprentice to a lithographic printer and, while a teenager, sold cartoons to London comic weekly papers. Success and marriage and a move to London was in the offing. 

"At the time of the census of 1891, Browne was twenty and was living in lodgings in central Nottingham. He was described as a lithographic designer, and living at the same address were John Clarkson, a lithographic artist, and Lucy Pares, a lace maker, who was a visitor. Early in 1892, Browne married Pares in Nottingham.[5]

"In 1890, Alfred Harmsworth had founded a new British comic book called Comic Cuts. Cheaply printed, it proved to be the ideal medium for Browne's bold drawing style. His comic strips soon became so popular that he moved to London and into a studio in Wollaton House at Westcombe Park. There, he turned out six full-page strips a week, but also produced illustrations for several British magazines. His cartoons appeared in Punch, The Tatler and other highly-rated periodicals of the day. In 1898 Browne became a member of the Royal British Society of Artists and in 1901 was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, which meant he could use the letters RI after his name.[3]"

-- From Tom Browne's Wikipedia page

Meanwhile, in the 21st century I saw this Brush Pen and Pencil book, which was all about Tom Browne, at the Arundel, Maine flea market. It looked well-loved -- and, for good reason, the pen and ink drawings were terrific. I hadn't known of Tom Browne, but if I was buying Comic Cuts or some other London humor paper way back at the end of the 19th century, I sure would have. He created the iconic logo for Johnny Walker whiskey, as well as creating the early British strip "Weary Willie and Tired Tim." His style influenced other cartoonists including Leo Baxendale and Bruce Bairnsfather. 

He died at his home at the age of 39, after surgery for cancer. He left behind his wife, Lucy, and three children. 

Here are some of the cartoons, travel sketches, paintings and drawings from the Brush Pen and Pencil: the Book of Tom Browne by A.E. Johnson, "containing 57 examples of the artist's work in brush, pen and pencil." It was published in London by Adam and Charles Black in 1909. In the same Brush Pen and Pencil series: books about Frank Reynolds, R.I. and John Hassall, R.I.