Thursday, July 30, 2009
When I first started this blog, I intended it to be all about my cartoons, with a few of my witty observations and comments thrown in for good measure. As time went on, I found myself commenting on a lot of other things, and cartoons and cartooning sort of got lost along the way. For a while, I fretted over this, and tried to think of ways to bring the magical world of cartooning back to the forefront. I have been somewhat unsuccessful.
So for the time being, this blog is going to be about whatever the heck I want it to be about. If I want to write about Rocco the Wonder Dog, waffles, Doctor Who toys, or the Wonderful World of Organized Sports, I will. (Don't hold your breath on that last one.) You cartoon fans needn't fret, though. I will still be posting from time to time about cartooning, including my now revered tips for you aspiring cartoonists. Also, until I get my highly anticipated "art" blog up, I will post random drawings of mine here from time to time, when words escape me.
If you can think of any topics you'd like me to hold forth on, please let me know in the comments section. You needn't even leave your name. You can post anonymously, although thinking of some clever alias is much more fun.
I actually don't have much on my mind today, because my freaking back is killing me! As I may have mentioned before, this is no mild twinge giving me pause. This is red-hot-poker-directly-in-my-spine agony that it seems only death's sweet kiss will relieve.
You might imagine I developed this pain performing some strenuous physical activity. If you do, you don't know me very well (I rely on Perfect Wife for most of the heavy lifting around here). The most strenuous physical activity that I perform usually is twisting the top off a Diet Coke™. That, and occasionally bagging my own groceries. I actually received this pain as a result of my duties as an usher at the outdoor concert venue we work for during the Summer. No, I wasn't helping a hefty patron into their seat. It turns out that standing on concrete for two or three hours with my doctor-diagnosed flat feet plays havoc with my spine. I come home with a crampy back, and only a hot bath and a lie-down eases the pain. Slowly, I am getting used to this routine and my back is feeling better. By the end of the Summer, I should be fine.
As I may have mentioned before, this back trouble may be karma making a pay back. As a lad, I used to feign back pain to get out of snow shovelling duty. My Mother usually fell for it, and I would sit inside sipping Swiss Miss™ while she shoveled the driveway. I would often have to turn up the TV really loud to drown out the sound of her scraping the driveway with her shovel.
So don't feel too bad for me. Maybe I deserve this pain. Although I should point out, Mum really did a much better job on the driveway than I would have.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Driving Me Crazy!
Ahh, a drive in the country. Out on the open highways and byways, the wind in your face. The breeze in what's left of your hair. Sounds pleasant, doesn't it? Well, it would be for me, except for one thing:
EVERYONE ELSE ON THE ROAD!
I know that every region has their own breed of crappy drivers. I've driven in Los Angeles, New York City and even (shudder!) New Jersey. All of the motorists in these locales have their own notorious unique take on driving terribly, but being a native of Southeastern Massachusetts, I believe we have a group of terrible drivers that are in a class by themselves.
Now I know that there are many of you reading this that may take umbrage with that claim. "Surely", you cry, "the place that I live has the crappiest drivers in the world!" I'm sorry if I wounded your local pride. You may be right, and I might change my mind should I ever make it to your little Slice of Paradise. I suppose the fact of the matter is, awful drivers are everywhere. Maybe there wouldn't be, if other motor vehicle drivers were aware of the following secrets to better driving:
• When the light turns red, you "stop". This may seem like a simple tip, but you'd be amazed how many folks seem unaware of this.
• When the light turns green, you "go". That's right, the moment the light changes to green, that is the signal for you to take you foot off the brake and begin to move. Not "in a sec", or "when you notice it". Right now.
• Traffic signs are rules not suggestions. I'm sorry, but those pesky "stop", "one way" and "no parking" signs are rules for everybody to follow. Not just everybody else, you too. Believe me, no one is more inconvenienced by this than me, but some of those signs are there for a reason. Even, as hard as it may seem to believe, are those "speed limit" signs. One sign that has always puzzled me is the "slow children" post. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do for that one. I think I'm supposed to watch for children moving extra slowly, but I've never seen any.
• If you are going to "sight see", get out of your freakin' car. I know it is pleasant to drive about slowly and randomly stop and start the car without signaling. If only you could do it without being bothered by all those horns honking behind you! Do you know what that is? It's other drivers. Behind you. Who have someplace to get to and are getting frustrated at trying to figure out what the heck you are doing. If you are tooling about and see a sight that catches your fancy, signal, pull over, get out of your car and look at the stupid tree or whatever, and let others get on their way.
• If you are elderly, don't drive. I know you're as young as you feel, but if your memory, hearing, vision and/or bladder control is gone, stop driving. You had your time. Give us kids a chance to drive like jerks.
These are just a few of the many tips I could offer you on being a better driver, but I don't want to overwhelm you. Just keeping these in mind will make your next driving experience more pleasant and perhaps even safer, for all involved. There is one last piece of advice I'd like to offer. Perhaps the most important tip of all:
• If you're in front of me, get out of my way. If I am behind the wheel, odds are good I am running late, so I really need you to get out of my way so I can reach my destination ASAP.
See you on the road!
Friday, July 24, 2009
To Boldly Go Where No Waffle Has Gone Before!
Whenever a big Summer blockbuster is released, there is always a whole crap load of connected merchandise released in stores at the same time. I suppose movie makers think, "Hey, if they loved the movie, they'll love the bed sheets!"
Movie tie-ins are usually the usual stuff: fast food kids toys, tee shirts, drinking glasses, action figures and the like. Sometimes though, you spot a movie-related product that is a real head-scratch er.
Take Eggo™ Star Trek Waffles. Please.
I myself love Star Trek, and I do enjoy a toasted Eggo™ every now and then (although not to the extreme that I run about the house pointing fingers and shrieking, "Leggo my Eggo™!", to my family at breakfast time). Apparently, the folks in R & D at Kellogg's® figured there must be a lot of folks like me out there, who would find the combination of waffles and science fiction adventure irresistible. To fill that demographic need, they produced this breakfast food.
As you can see from the box pictured above, the waffles are your usual Eggos™, but with a circular depression in the middle. Inside the circle is a full color cartoon of assorted Star Trek moments. Not only does the aforementioned circular depression rob the waffle of valuable butter-holding nook & cranny space, but the colored images really give one pause. For one thing, due to the apparent deficiencies in waffle-printing technology, the images look pretty bad. I had one of Captain Kirk sitting in his command chair that looked like he was sitting on the commode. You also have to wonder what they use to color the waffle. Is it harmless food coloring? Let's hope so. The colors definitely add a "flavor" to the waffle that no amount of butter, margarine or Mrs. Butterworth's can mask.
So, I'm sorry, but this is one product tie-in I can't recommend. This is just my opinion, though, you may love them. If you do, start hoarding them. They're out for "a limited time only". Probably just until they release the Shrek 4 Eggos™.
As for me, I'll stick to my Mr. T™ cereal.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Happiest of Happys!
There is a danger of this blog becoming the Bill-Rambles-On-About-His-Perfect-Wife Blog. I know I do it a lot, and I hope that those of you out there who are living a bitter, loveless existence will not think I am rubbing your nose in my good fortune. No, as I have mentioned before, I cite my relationship with PW to give hope to all that there is someone out there for everyone.
Also, today I have a really good excuse for dragging PW into the spotlight: It's her Birthday! In honor of this most special of days, instead of one of my usual scribbles, I am illustrating today's post with an actual photo of my amore (she's on the left). This picture was taken on a trip we took to Disneyland. I chose this image because I wasn't sure PW would want her face plastered across the interweb, and this image seemed innocuous enough, while still showing off her general babealiciousness.
This photo also reveals my skill as a photographer, as well as my right index finger, which appears in many of the pictures I take.
So Happy Birthday Perfect Wife! Thanks also to your Folks, The Perfect In-Laws, for making you possible!
Friday, July 17, 2009
And They Said It Wouldn't Last...
If you thought my Birthday a few days ago was cause to celebrate, this weekend, Perfect Wife and I celebrate our Second Wedding Anniversary!
When I refer to her as "Perfect Wife", I am not exaggerating. In previous posts on this blog, I have often put forth the question of why such a beautiful, smart, kind, caring, funny, etc. woman would see a goofball like me as ideal husband material. Whatever her reasons, it's too late for her now. Barring intervention from the courts, she is stuck with me.
Since it is our anniversary, allow me to tell you the tale of how I went from a happy bachelor, to an even happier married man.
When I was growing up, there was a family down the street from us that had a bunch of cute daughters. The future PW was the middle daughter in this family, and in my unbiased opinion, the cutest. My two sisters used to babysit for the family, and although I had no personal contact with any of the girls, I at least assumed they knew who I was, since our neighborhood wasn't that big. I certainly would have liked to have talked to them, but they didn't seem too friendly. I later found out they were all painfully shy, but at the time I thought they were stuck up. Actually, I sometimes suspect that the whole "we were shy" story was a dodge, and they really were a bit stuck up.
I grew up and moved out of the neighborhood, and kinda forgot about that family. Every once and awhile though, when I was with former neighbors, this family's name would come up, and we would wonder what happened to them.
Fast forward 20 years or so. I was appearing in a local community theatre production of "Seussical the Musical". I was playing the Cat in the Hat. (If you are wondering how I kept my dignity while prancing about the stage in a cat suit and a giant red & white striped hat, the answer is, I couldn't. Maybe someday I'll get liquored up and post a picture of myself in costume, just for laughs.) Before the first rehearsal, I was perusing the cast list, when I noticed the name of the cute girl from my old neighborhood! Could this be the same person? I went to the first rehearsal, and it turned out, yes, it was the same girl from the old neighborhood! After rehearsal was over, I went up to say hello to her. I felt she'd be thrilled to see someone from the old neighborhood.
When I introduced myself, she looked at me blankly. I reminded her that my sisters used to babysit for her family. She told me she remembered my sisters well, she was just surprised to learn that they had a brother. I was aware I was not the most popular kid in my neighborhood, but I didn't realize until that moment that I was also a nonentity. To her credit, I think PW wife felt bad she didn't remember me. I think.
As the weeks of rehearsal passed, we spent more time talking to each other and then we segued into emailing each other once and awhile. Then, we started emailing each other a lot. I developed a huge crush on PW, but I wasn't sure if she had any interest in me. Her behavior towards me seemed to indicate that she did at times, and then other times it seemed like she was once again unaware I existed. It was like reliving high school relationships all over again.
Eventually, we made our feelings known to each other, and found out that we both felt the same way. In deference to those of you with weak stomachs, I will spare you the mushy details of our courtship. We ended up getting married, and the rest is history. We are truly best friends, and I cannot imagine life without her. She claims to feel the same way.
If I have any regrets about our relationship, it's only that I wish we had gotten together 20 years ago. Apparently though, the woman has to be aware the man exists for that to happen. I am sure people are jealous of our marriage, and they should be.
So take heart, dear, lonely, reader! If I could manage to meet the person/plant/thing of my dreams, you can too! Just get yourself out there and start looking! You'll find them.
I just hope you don't have to dress up as The Cat in the Hat to do it.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Dating My Birth
In October of 1960, husband and wife Bill and Jacqueline White were given a gift by Bill's sister Margie: A romantic weekend getaway on Cape Cod. Apparently, they had a wonderful time, because around 9 months later, on July 15, 1961, they had a bouncing baby boy, Me, Bill Jr.
At least that's the way my mother tells the story of my conception. Mercifully, she never went into detail about just how "romantic" the weekend got. I figure though, I must be proof that they had a pretty good time.
My parents already had 2 girls, and they were delighted to have a boy at last. Even if that boy was me. My Father was especially delighted to have a son. Finally, someone to share his passion for athletics with! Later, when he realized the White family sports fan gene was absent in my DNA, he was a pretty good sport about it. He did spark my interest in cartooning though, and used to spend time drawing characters with me.
As delighted as my parents were to have me, I could never help but take note of the fact that they had no more children after me. I would like to think that this was an economic decision on their part. Sometimes though, I wonder if the experience of pushing my plus-size cranium out her birth canal colored my Mother's decision.
So yes, today I celebrate 48 years on this planet. Thanks to Mum & Dad (and Aunt Margie!) for making it all happen.
Hey, what are you sitting around reading this for? Get out and buy me a present!
Monday, July 13, 2009
I am guessing that most of you out there have, at one time or another, had a job. Being employed for most of us also means having a boss. I'm sure that there are many wonderful bosses out there, and I've been lucky enough to have had a few in my "career". I have also had, to put it politely, some bosses who really gnawed my canker.
At one time, I was employed at a gas station. My boss there was not a happy camper, perhaps because he was running a gas station. Since he was so unhappy, it apparently made sense to him that everyone who worked for him should be unhappy too. He had many techniques for making everyone around him miserable, including screaming, throwing things, making groundless accusations, changing the schedules on a whim, and stinking up the bathroom. On Christmas Eve, he would don a Santa hat and pass out gifts to all the employees. You might interpret this as a nice gesture, but it wasn't. He only gave gifts to the employees he LIKED, thereby making the unfavored workers feel even worse. Despite all my efforts, I was one of the employees he liked. My gift? A shoeshine kit. A great gift if I ever wore anything but sneakers. I was actually unaware that shoeshine kits were still being manufactured after 1947.
Bad bosses aren't limited to the minimum wage sector, of course. At a TV cartoon studio, I worked for a "genius" whose show was the hottest cartoon on TV at the time. He had a ton of loyal employees busting their butts for him, but they never received a "pat on the back" or any acknowledgement of the excellent work they were doing. All their faults, mistakes and weaknesses were pointed out as often as possible, however. In the press, he would take all the credit for all the praise the show was receiving, but, when he was fired by the network for "gross mismanagement", he let it be known far and wide that his dismissal was the fault of his "incompetent" staff. This staff successfully continued the show after he left for a few more years.
Thinking back on some of these poor leaders of mine got me to thinking. Who would be a great boss? Who would be: THE WORLD'S BEST BOSS?
Since I now work for myself, I really have no personal examples to choose from (Although I am a pretty good boss. My employee likes me, although our profits could be better). So, instead of picking a boss from the "real" world, may I suggest a candidate from TV land? My choice for the perfect boss would be:
Davros, from the British TV series, DOCTOR WHO.
For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Davros is a megalomaniac scientist from the planet Skaro, and creator of the evil robots the Daleks. The Daleks consider themselves to be the superior life form in the universe, and, to put it in business terms, their "mission statement" is to wipe out all other life forms.
I can understand if you were to think that Davros wouldn't be the ideal candidate for World's Best Boss. However, if you can just get past the whole, "wiping out all other forms of life" thing, and could see him in action, you would agree with me. Consider:
1) HE HAS A BUSINESS PLAN AND HE STICKS TO IT- He and the Daleks want to destroy everyone else, and that's what they try to do. They don't waste time on "focus groups" and sit through endless meetings, they get out there and "EXTERMINATE"!
2) HE DELEGATES WELL- Davros knows he can't kill everyone himself, and he doesn't try. He knows his employees know their job, and he lets them do it.
3) HE VALUES AND IS PROUD OF HIS EMPLOYEES- How many companies do you know of where the workers consider themselves the ultimate life form? Other than a Chik-Fil-A I went to in Virginia, I haven't seen many.
4) HE DOESN'T LET SETBACKS GET HIM DOWN AND DOESN'T BLAME HIS WORKERS- Sure, Davros isn't doing too well on the whole wiping out all the other species in the universe thing, but he keeps trying! He also doesn't blame the Daleks when his evil schemes go awry.
Granted, I am unaware of what kind of salaries and employee benefits packages Davros provides. Truth be told, I have never seen a Dalek on vacation. Still, I bet working for Davros beats working in a gas station.
I bet Davros never gave anyone a shoe shine kit as a Christmas gift, either.
Friday, July 10, 2009
The rainy weather seems to have passed. At last. The weather here in the Irish Riviera is beautiful, bright and sunny, with cool ocean breezes blowing by.
The delightful weather and picturesque scenery bring a lot of Summer residents to our town. We year-round residents don't really care for them much. They are noisy and crowd up our stores, beaches and restaurants. They do dump a lot of cash into the local economy though, so we tolerate them. I really hate the lines at the sub shop, though.
There are some Summertime visitors, however, that we here at Casa del Blanco cannot tolerate: Bugs. One particular breed in particular, that, until we moved into our new home last year, we were unfamiliar with, the Wood Boring Hornet.
One morning last Summer, I awoke to Perfect Wife in a state of extreme distress, to put it mildly. "There are bees all over the dining room!", she shrieked. At first, I thought she was exaggerating. PW is squeamish about insects, and even the tiniest spider is "huge", the littlest ladybug, "disgusting". I went to the dining room, expecting to see one, or maybe two, gentle bumblebees gliding lazily about the room. To my horror, PW was not exaggerating, the room was swarming with dozens of insects. They weren't bees though, they were some sort of yellow tailed wasp. After a battle that involved an arsenal of fly swatters and bug spray, as well as a lot of girlish shrieking (mostly from me), we destroyed all the invaders. Or had we? No, as it turned out. After disposing of all the bug corpses, we noticed MORE wasps coming in through a small hole under the window! We destroyed the newcomers, and hastily plugged up the hole with duct tape. Problem solved.
No, it wasn't. The next day, the little rascals had chewed through the tape, and were happily exploring the house again. After another session of swatting and shrieking, we plugged up the hole once more, this time with putty. What the heck were these things? We asked our neighbor, and he informed us of the existence of the Wood Boring Wasp. He said he had trouble with them every year too. It would have been nice to know about this before we moved in, but then again, it would have been nice to know their daughter practices the piano at 7 AM.
We hoped the plug we put in would hold, and it did. Unfortunately, the little so-and-so's drilled themselves a new hole next to the old one, and the unwelcome visits began anew. This meant war! After a long search, we found their entrance outside the house, and, after they had retired for the evening, we sprayed the hole with the most toxic bug spray legally available and plugged up the hole. That night we could hear them in their death throes, trying to dig their way to safety in our house. A most unsettling sound. We turned up the volume on "So You Think You Can Dance", and judge Mary Murphy's screaming finally drowned them out (personally, I preferred the dying wasps' sounds to Mary Murphy, but I was outvoted).
The next morning, the wasps HAD managed to dig through our wall yet again, but in vain. The bug spray worked, and they were all dead. All of them, that is, except for one lil' trooper who somehow climbed down the back of my shirt during the clean-up, and and as a final "F-You!", gave me quite a sting on the small of my back.
That was the last we saw of the wasps. This year, we haven't seen any yet. We're pretty sure the cold, wet weather has discouraged them from returning. If they do, we are ready for them. We already have the wasp traps set, and the swatters handy.
Just because the wasps are gone doesn't mean we won't have visits from other members of the Insect Kingdom. With all the standing water the rain left, we will probably have mosquitos as big as beavers by August.
The glass is never half full.
Monday, July 6, 2009
So Terribly Damp!
I love rainy days. Sometimes though, you can have too much of a good thing. Like the entire month of June here in our Little Corner of Paradise (aka, The Northeast of the US of A), for example. It rained for 27 days! The three "sunny" days we had weren't really anything to get excited about either. Kinda chilly and drab. Not really, "Hey-it's-not-raining-let's-go-the-beach" weather. Not that I am a "Hey-it's-not-raining-let's-go-to-the-beach" type of guy anyway. Not really a beach fan. Not really a fan of anyplace you're likely to see a 400 lb. guy in a Speedo™.
True story about how bad it got 'round these parts: The "Flood Information Meeting" at our local library was cancelled when the library flooded. I don't think it has been rescheduled.
Everything smells really moldy, too. It's like living in an old lady's underpants.
Now that it's July, the sun is back. I'm afraid though, that I have lost my faith in Mr. Sun. I'm afraid at any moment, he will disappear again, and the showers will return.
I'm sure my readers to the South will be unsympathetic to my whining about the rain. I know they have seen quite enough of Ol' Man Sol, and may even be a bit jealous of our abundant precipitation. Be patient. Hurricane season is just around the corner, kids!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Hitting the Links!
Daily visitors to this blog have no doubt noticed that I do not blog daily. I have every intention to blog more frequently, but something always seems to come up to prevent me from posting. This happens so often, that my whiny excuses for my absences have no doubt become the highlight of my posts for some of you.
Not having something fresh and tasty for you to read everyday worries me. I am especially concerned that those of you that "surf the 'net" while you are at work and supposed to be working, will be forced to turn away from your computers and actually do the tasks you are being paid to perform.
I don't want this to happen to you, Oh Loyal One, so I have prepared a list of some of the blogs and websites I visit regularly. Hopefully visiting these sites will fill the void when I have nothing new to offer.
In no particular order:
• News from Me- Writer Mark Evanier's site is chock-full of Show-biz and cartoon history, as well as Mark's humorous observations about just about anything and everything in the world.
• Cartoon Brew- A terrific website for animated cartoon fans and pros alike. A highlight of this site is the lively comments section, where professional animation artists condemn every animated film and TV show sight unseen, long before they debut. They also have links to a lot of other great animated film sites like:
• Michael Sporn's Animation Splog- Michael Sporn is an independent NYC-based animator, and his site is a treasure trove of animation artifacts and artwork. He also posts every single day without fail, which makes slackers like me feel even worse. When you visit his splog, take the time to watch some snippets of some of his beautiful films.
• Tom Richmond's MAD Blog- Tom Richmond is one of the new generation of MAD's "usual gang of idiots". He is also another way-too-busy-making-money guy who still manages to post almost every day. His blog has tutorials, works in progress, and all kindza stuff, written in an entertaining, personable style. For you geeks out there, go into his archives for the staggering saga of how he built his own movie-quality Batman suit. It is jaw-droppingly awesome.
• Drew from TV- If you don't like Drew Carey, this isn't the site for you. I happen to like him a lot. I like his stand up and his sitcom, and I loved his book "Dirty Jokes & Beer". He even makes watching "The Price is Right" tolerable. Now he has his own blog, and it's just like having Drew over your house to shoot the breeze over a few beers, minus the beer.
• Gary Fields Studios- Gary is one of my oldest pals and a super cartoonist. As much as I like visiting his site to look at his always-fun cartoon work, I really like the fact that he blogs even more infrequently than me. That makes me feel better.
• Anita Answer- Got an obscure question about your next trip to Walt Disney World? Head on over to Anita's site every Monday, and see if she can help you out. Anita is also a bigger Doctor Who fanatic than me (hard to believe, but it's true!), so if you want to make sure she answers your question, make a reference to the Doctor in your question. Don't ask her about Dole Whip™ though. Just don't.
• Ken Levine- If all he had ever done was write scripts for "The Odd Couple" TV series, Mr. Levine's site would be a must-read. Throw in the fact that he's also written for "M*A*S*H, "Cheers" and "Frasier", and his blog is a HAVE-To read. His site is so chock full of funny behind the scenes stories and witty commentary, that it almost can make you forgive him for the fact that he co-wrote the Tom Hanks' movie "Volunteers".
• Clique Clack- Speaking of TV, this television fanatic opinion site has the dubious distinction of having me on their writing staff. I post even less frequently on their site than I do on my own. The other writers there are great though, and always have some pithy observations about all things boob tube-ish.
• Small & Big- This site is difficult to describe, so just go and enjoy and laugh. I do.
• The Onion- Funniest. Site. Ever. Even funnier than mine, if that's possible.
So there you have it, just a few of the sites I pop in on that I hope will help you while away the hours until I post again. I know there are a lot more out there that I'm forgetting/neglecting, but this list is long enough for now. If you have a site you think that I and the few other people that read this blog would enjoy, please send a link in the comment section.
Always read this page first, though!