Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post Year Wrap-Up (At Last!)

Happy Holidays, all! I hope all of you out there had a wonderful Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate. We here at Casa Del Blanco, did. Truth be told though, it was a lot of work, and we're kinda glad it's over.

Actually, that kind of sums up this entire year for me and mine. Sure, there were a lot of laughs and good times, but there were also lots of Life's little cankers spoiling our enjoyment of the whole thing. I will spare you the details, but I am really glad that 2009 is almost in the rear view mirror.

I don't want to dwell on the bad stuff, though. There were many bright spots. One of the best things was, believe it or not, some of the great people out there I met through this blog. Who knew there were so many intelligent folks with such discerning taste that would take the time to read this collection of wisdom and express their pithy Bonn mots in the comments section? To all of you out there, a sincere "Thank You". If you keep reading, I'll keep posting.

Of course, maybe there won't  be as much to read this year. The New Year is all about optimism, and in the coming year I hope to be so busy with paying gigs, I will be too exhausted to post frequently. Hey, it could happen!

No matter what, I hope that this is the BEST YEAR EVER for us all. If it's not,  there is always 2011.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hang a Shining Star Across the Highest (Stolen) Bough...

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? Where does the time 

We all have happy memories of the Christmases from our past. Memories of the special little times that define the Holiday season for us. My Sister and I share one very special memory.

The year we stole a  Christmas tree.

Before you contact the authorities, let me explain. Back  in the eighties, my Sis and I lived far from home. We arrived at our family homestead and discovered our Dear Mother had not gotten around to getting a Christmas tree. A Christmas without a tree?! That would never do! So we hopped in the car in search of a tree.

Unfortunately, by that time,  most tree sellers were sold out, and had packed up and moved on. After circling the town we came across a lot with a few trees still left. The lot was closed, and the trees left were pretty shabby. Still, we managed to find one that was somewhat presentable, and after hoisting it over the padlocked chain link fence, we took it home. Hoisting a pine tree over a chain link fence is not as easy as you might think, especially when you are blessed with the "Complete-Lack-of-Coordination" gene that my Sister and I have. We were covered with  pine sap and needles, but were happy to have a tree. A "free" one to boot! We spent the rest of the day fluffing up the branches, making the tree look presentable and watching "It's a Wonderful Life", while we decorated it. The tree looked very pretty when we were finished, and, as I said, we thought that the fact we got this lovely tree for "free" was something of a Christmas Miracle.

The next year,  we attempted the same stunt at the same lot, and were confronted with a sign that said, and I am paraphrasing here: "IF YOU ARE TAKING A LEFTOVER TREE, PLEASE LEAVE PAYMENT IN THE ATTACHED ENVELOPE". My Sister and I felt bad. Had someone seen us taking a tree, and thought us a couple of Grinch-like criminals? We found a tree, paid for it, and left. That tree didn't have the same "Christmas-Miracle" vibe as the previous one. 

The next year, I found an  artificial tree on clearance, and that was the tree we used for the remaining years we spent in that house.

For my Sister and I, though, nothing will ever match the magic of our special little stolen tree. 


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Worries!

I usually don't have any faith in TV weather forecasters. It seems to be  the only job where you can be wrong all the time, and still stay employed. Weather forecasters seem to  excel in an inability to accurately predict what the weather is going to do. This time, however, they hit the nail on the head. They said we here in the Irish Riviera were going to be walloped with one heck of a snow storm, and they were right.

Man, we were hit with one doozy  of a  snow storm! Thankfully, Perfect Wife and I have finished all of our Holiday shopping, so we could just hunker down and enjoy the storm. By "hunker down", I mean that I could complain about lower back pain and avoid snow-shoveling duty, while she went out and did the heavy lifting. Believe me, it is a pleasure to sit back  with a cup of hot cocoa and watch your significant other shovel snow.

That is a joke, of course. I helped shovel the snow. I spent almost five minutes out there.  As did Rocco the Wonder Dog. Although he hates most other versions of inclement weather, Rocco loves the snow. Why, we do not know, but we have stopped trying to understand how Rocco's mind works.

In writing the above, I realize this entry might come out as a bitch-a-thon about the weather. That couldn't be further from the truth. I love having a white Christmas! I also promise a more substantial entry next time.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Gary Day!

As if there wasn't enough to celebrate at this festive time of year, cartoon fans around the world are celebrating (or should be) the anniversary of the day uber-cartoonist and my best bestest pal Gary Fields popped into the world!

If you are unfamiliar with Gary's work, you should hop on over and check out his seldom-updated blog. He really is  a fabulous cartoonist, and our occasional collaborations are some of the highlights of what some might laughingly refer to as my "career".

You might expect that I would end this entry with some embarrassingly amusing anecdote about Gary. Although I have plenty, I will not. He is a family man, after all.

Let's just say, Happiest of Happys, ol' buddy!

BTW, the picture above is from when Gary and I (he's on the left) had a lot more hair,  and fewer responsibilities!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Offer You Can't Refuse!

Have you ever looked at the cartoons on this blog and thought to yourself, "Gee, Bill sure draws purty pitchers. I wish I could get him to  do a caricature of me!"?  Well, if you are one of these misguided souls, and live in South Eastern Massachusetts, your wish can come true!

On Sunday, December 13th, 2009, from 12 to 4 P.M., I will be doing black and white caricatures at a local Christmas Fair for a nominal fee!

The event is the:

"HOLLY-DAYS (clever) FAIR"
12 t0 4 P.M.
Admission is $5 per person with a $20 cap per family.

The event is a fundraiser for the museum, which is a fun local place for kids to hang out. In addition to myself, there will be loads of gift items for sale, food, photos with the guy in red and all kinds of diversions for the family. WARNING: There will be a Sing-a-Long.

If you are too shy to have a caricature done of you, I will do a cartoon of a loved one if you bring in a decent photo. What a delightful Holiday gift that would be! I promise to be kind.*

If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by and say hello. Mention you are a regular reader of this blog and receive a free horrified stare from Perfect Wifey.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Ja Think I Was a Cowboy?"

I know! Two blog postings in one day! What is up with that?

What is "up with that" is that I realized, after my last posting, what an important day this is for fans of all things cartoony. Today marks the 115th anniversary of the late, great Elzie Segar!

You may not recognize his name, but you are most certainly familiar with his work. Mr. Segar was the creator of the one, the only, Popeye the Sailor! Although my first exposure to this character was in the wonderful Fleischer Bros. black & white cartoons of the thirties, he originated in the legendary "Thimble Theatre" comic strip, created by Mr. Segar. I didn't discover the Segar Popeye strips until I was in my late teens. I loved the animated cartoons, so I was eager to sample the "source" material for them. When I did, I was blown away. Creating as rich a character as Popeye would be enough of an achievement, but the vast array of characters and entertaining plot lines Segar created is truly amazing. He was almost the Charles Dickens of the comics page.

He died relatively young, and the strip floundered into formula after his passing. In honor of his birthday, though, try to seek out one of the many collections of his work available at places like Amazon. If you have any taste at all, you won't be disappointed.

If you can't/won't do that, or are too lazy or cheap to, at least check out some Popeye cartoons on YouTube. Even though Segar had nothing to do with these, the best of them show his greatest creation in all his glory. If you'd like my suggestion for a sample, check out "Popeye Meets Sindbad the Sailor". It is definitely on my list of the top animated cartoons of all time.

Happy Birthday E.C.! You certainly were "strong to the finich"!

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No Paper Wasted!

Yes, I know. There has been a lapse in my blog posting lately. I would offer up some lame excuses for my failure to post more regularly, but I know that the  Faithful Readers of this site are far too intelligent to buy into any of my nonsense.

One of the reasons it is so hard to post often (other than more pressing matters getting in the way), is that sometimes, you have nothing of interest to write about. I know, it's hard to believe that a jet-setter like me doesn't have an endless font of interesting things to pontificate about, but, sadly, nothing too thrilling has  happened in our neck of the woods lately. That will change shortly, as the Christmas season draws near and I start doing more "live" caricature gigs (BTW, Check back here later in the week for details on how all you lucky readers on the Irish Riviera can see me draw live and in person!).

While you're passing the time waiting for me to post something of interest, for you cartoon fans out there, there is a site you must visit! My pal David is an aspiring ink-slinger, and has started a great feature on his blog. He has emailed a bunch of cartoonists,  both famous and infamous, and asked them a list of questions about their work habits and  the materials they use. He has gotten responses from a wide range of cartoonists, and the results are really interesting. Well, at least they are to a cartoon geek like me. 

You can view David's  site here. If you are a cartoonist or hope to someday be one, you must check this out.

Yes,  he did poll me too, but it's still worth reading.

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