Yesterday we showed you some work from a real cartoonist.
Today, painful as it is, we’re showing you mine, retrieved from the garbage.
The year Ace and I spent on the road was about, among other things, opening up new vistas – for him and me. While he mostly dangled his head out the car window, I experimented with some new things, like dabbling in haiku, eating lobster roll, visiting a gentlemen’s club and, after a visit with an old cartoonist friend in Houston, drawing what was the second or third cartoon of my life.
I’ve long thought I would have been a great cartoonist, if only I could draw.
The only previous work I remember, and I can’t find it now, shows a team of movers packing up a home, one of whom comes down the stairs to the basement holding a very wrinkly-skinned dog by the scruff of its neck, at which point his exasperated supervisor tells him, in one of those voice bubbles, “No,! I said bring me a Sharpie.”
The cartoon above was created on the road (not while driving, but while at a rest area). Displeased with my artistic abilities, I wadded it up and threw on the floor of the back seat of my car, which served, and still does, as my trash bin. Those stains, I’ll venture, are mostly soy sauce and hamburger grease and Taco Bell beanage, left by wrappers and bags tossed in the same area.
Once the trip was over, and I gave the car a good cleaning, I came across it, unwadded it, and decided to keep it as a souvenir.
While it’s not likely to end up in The New Yorker, I may include it with the other charts, graphics and embarassing moments in the book about our travels. The book needs more dirty parts, and it’s definitely dirty, if not in its theme at least as a result of being buried under a year’s worth of fast food flotsam.
It relates to a topic I’ve talked about before — the belief (that I don’t buy, especially when it comes to dogs) that God gave man dominion over the animals, and how that’s often interpreted to mean they are here to serve us and we can do with them what we please.
Of course, “dominion” can mean a lot of things, but I like to think it means something other than shooting them, or fighting them, or eating them, or working them to death. I prefer viewing “dominion” as a responsibility to watch out over them — as I think they do us.
As for my cartoon, wherein the humor lies — if indeed some does — is in the contrast between the dominion we purportedly have and the poop bags we hold. We, millions of us, follow our dogs daily, rushing to pick up their solid waste.
Aliens observing this from afar, as I think Jerry Seinfeld once noted, would assume dogs were the masters and we were the servants.
Clearly it appears to run contrary to what God outlined for us when it comes to those creepy things creeping on earth, particularly dogs. Do we have “dominion” or are we merely “doo-minions,” scurrying to dutifully bag and dispose of the stinky feces our beloved dogs leave behind?
Whatever the case, and however large the pile, it’s a small price to pay.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bible, cartoon, cartoonists, cartoons, dog, dogs, dominion, doo minion, drawing, feces, god, humor, pets, poop, shit, travels with ace, waste
When it comes to being petted, cats and dogs have different standards, as illustrated by this helpful graphic we came across at Humor Train.
After rattling off a farcical list of “problems” for which there is no cure — infantile baldness, bulimic insomnia, backwards baseball caps — comedian-actor Kevin Nealon makes it clear to viewers of this public service announcement that there is one we can do something about:
The senseless killing of thousands of adoptable animals each year in Los Angeles city shelters.
In this spot for No-Kill Los Angeles, Nealon brings a little humor to a serious situation. Using his deadpan style, accompanied by poignant piano music, he reels off a long list of “unsolveable” problems, then he makes his plea:
“There are a lot of problems out there,” Nealon says. “Here is one you can do something about — homeless pets. Go to NKLA.org to find out more about how you can help. Let’s make LA a no-kill city forever.”
NKLA is a campaign of Best Friends Animal Society and its goal is to end the killing of animals in Los Angeles shelters by 2017. About 17,000 animals die in city shelters every year.
NKLA billboards can be found across Los Angeles, featuring the larger-than life faces of dogs and cats, flanked by the initials NKLA, an acronym for “No Kill Los Angeles.”
Nealon spent nine years on the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” appeared in movies such as “Anger Management,” “Joe Dirt,” and the “Wedding Singer,” and is a regular on the Showtime series, “Weeds.”
The NKLA spot was produced by Let There Be Dragons, which is affiliated with the advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day.
iN aPRIL, Nealon, along with Oscar winner Hilary Swank and other celebrities, helped roll out the NKLA campaign, which includes a broad coalition of animal rescue groups and shelters led by Best Friends Animal Society, with support from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the LA City Council, and LA City Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette.
Members of the NKLA coalition include Found Animals Foundation, Kitten Rescue, Stray Cat Alliance, Downtown Dog Rescue, FixNation, Karma Rescue, and Best Friends.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, best friends, campaign, cats, deadpan, dogs, euthanasia, homeless, humor, kevin nealon, killing, los angeles, nkla, no kill los angeles, no-kill la, problems, psa, public service announcement, rescues, saturday night live, shelters, solving, video, weeds
I’ve never watched “Portlandia,” but I have watched some dog park behavior — of the human variety — not unlike this.
You know the type — the ones that think they, and their dog, are somehow more important than all the rest, those with newly acquired dogs, who, because they’ve read a book, or watched “quite a few DVD’s,” are experts on all things dog.
Those bossy ones, those know-it-alls, those self-righteous, sanctimonious souls who won’t share balls.
Those overbearing, over zealous, uptight ones who’d prefer it if your dog didn’t bark, or wrestle, or drool, or run, or poop.
Let me be clear — none of my friends are like this. No, not at all. But these sorts are out there. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. Except for them.
“Portlandia,” IFC’s original short-based comedy series starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, begins its second season Jan 6. It airs Fridays at 10 p.m., 9 p.m. central time.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, ball sharing, behavior, carrie brownstein, comedy, dog park, dogs, fred armisen, humans, humor, ifc, oregon, personalities, pets, portland, portlandia, quicksilver, season, second, survivor, television, tsunami, tv, video
As some of you know, the main reason for my lengthy layover in Winston-Salem, North Carolina — in addition to it being the place of my birth, and a lovely mid-sized town, and its temperate climate, and its thriving arts scene, and it’s cigaretty legacy — is that my mother lives here.
About twice a week we get together. They are brief and pleasant visits, usually for a meal at the retirement community in which she lives, though sometimes I manage to talk her into an outing.
It has been nice to live so near her, and we get along well, almost drama free. I feel we’ve grown closer, and that she’s grown closer to Ace, too — but not so close that she’s accepting when he drools on her, as he does when she breaks out the dog biscuits.
“It leaves a stain,” she says. “No,” I argue, “drool doesn’t leave a stain. It just disappears.” (I know this from my own pillow.) Usually, any disagreements we have are minor, like that.
There’s really only one recurring major issue we clash over: pants, namely mine.
Well, there is the job issue (as in I should really get one) and the health insurance issue (as in I should really get some). But mainly it’s pants.
She thinks I should have some ”dress pants.”
That’s her term. To me, it seems a contradiction. “Dress pants” is like “bottle can” or “shoe socks” or “underpants hat,” or like those half skirt/half shorts things women once wore that I think have gone out of style. What were they called? Culottes?
For nearly 40 years, I’ve worn blue jeans every day. There might have been a brief phase where I experimented with corduroy, but mainly my lower half is constantly clad in denim, which I’m pretty sure is the reason all the hair has rubbed off my lower legs.
I knew when I moved here that the official uniform of the southern male was khaki pants, but I figured I could get by with my one pair. Alas, in my mothers view, they — at least my pair — don’t constitute real dress pants.
This is because all my pants that aren’t jeans — and I think most of them were purchased in the 1980s or early 90s — have extra pockets and, often, a little loop for a hammer.
At some point — and perhaps it still is, I don’t know – it became fashionable for some men’s pants to have a little loop for a hammer, even though they were worn by non-carpenters who didn’t need a little loop for a hammer.
My other non-jean pants are what I think are called “cargo pants” — the ones with extra pockets and pouches with velcro flaps at knee level.
To my mother’s eye, neither carpenter-style pants, nor cargo-style pants, nor “casual pants” of any ilk qualify as dress pants.
In my defense, I ditched many of my belongings, possibly including some “dress pants,” before Ace and I began our travels. Maybe I figured I would be attending few formal functions on the road, and would be more likely to need pants with a little loop for a hammer.
Besides, I never liked “dress pants.” They are too billowy. I need pants that I know are there, that embrace me. It’s probably the same concept as that Temple Grandin hugging machine, or the Thundershirt.
With Thanksgiving coming up, I’ve been invited to join some friends of hers – my mother, not Temple Grandin – at the retirement community for dinner, so again last weekend, the subject of “dress pants” arose.
“Do you even have any dress pants?” she asked.
“These are dress pants.”
“Dress pants don’t have little loops for hammers.”
“Well you can do other things with the little loop,” I said.
“Nothing I can think of right off, but I’m sure there are other, more formal uses.”
The interesting thing about this tension — and what is Thanksgiving without some family tension? — is that it’s a carryover from my teen-aged years, a good 40 years past, when we’d have many an argument, more heated than the ones we have now, about appearance and especially the length of my hair at the time.
Recently, in going through her papers, with her permission of course, I found a letter I had written her one summer during my college years, lecturing her on how it was what is in one’s heart that was important, not the clothes upon one’s back or the length of one’s hair.
Such a sanctimonious little wannabe hippy I was.
Anyway, with Thanksgiving approaching, I have three options. Plan A is to wear a suit (I do have a suit). Plan B (because I do like to sometimes irritate my mother) is to wear my pants with a little loop for a hammer and actually put a hammer in the little loop. Plan C (because I also like to, on rare occasion, make her happy) is to go buy some “nice dress pants.”
Plan C is highly unlikely. (But I did get a haircut yesterday.)
I’m leaning toward the suit, or at least the pants from the suit. Chances are they will be a little tight, but I think maybe with help from the claw end of a hammer, I can squeeze into them.
Now where did I put my hammer?
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, appearance, attire, big boy pants, blue jeans, cargo pants, carpenter pants, casual pants, clothing, dogs, dress, dress pants, families, haircut, hammer, holidays, humor, khakis, mother, pants, parents, peace, pets, spiffy, temple grandin, tension, thanksgiving, travels with ace
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of some our dog-blogging peers.
Foley Monster, a highly respected Yorkshire terrier whose blog is among those on our recommended reading list (see blogroll in our right hand column) has apologized to constituents for Tweeting photos of her crotch area.
In a statement issued last week Foley Monster (A) denied the photo circulating through Twitter was her, (B) admitted it was, (C) denied Tweeting it, (D) admitted she did, and then (E) fell back on the “everybody does it” defense.
“Let me state first of all, that is not a picture of me,” Foley Monster said. “There are plenty of adorable, fit, super sexy Yorkshire Terriers out there and that could be any one of us … Oh all right. That is me. I mean who am I trying to kid? Who else could be that adorable?”
After admitting the crotch in question belonged to her, Foley Monster first blamed hackers, or jealous enemies, or family members for Tweeting the photo, then admitted she had done it.
In a blog post, Foley Monster (that’s her to the left) backs up her statement with a portfolio of pooches shamelessly exposing their groins for all to see.
Dogs, it seems, will be dogs.
“I know that this behavior must be a great shock to my family … I would like to apologize to my constituents,” Foley Monster said. “ …. I know you have always trusted me to make the best decision for you and instead of doing so I’ve been spreading my fluffy over six continents …
“To be clear I have not met any of these dogs or had a physical relationship of any kind. I haven’t told the truth and I’ve done things I deeply regret. I once bit a squirrel in Reno just to watch it die…
Foley Monster goes on to confess all her other sins.
“I brought pain to those dogs who trust me, and most of all believe in me … In closing I would like to say I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgement and actions. But I’m not going to stop. If you would like more dirty pictures of me please let me just drop me an e-mail. I can’t stop now and disappoint my fans.
“That would make me some kind of Weiner.”
(Photos of Foley Monster and that immodest black and white dog courtesy of Foley Monster and Pocket)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anthony weiner, behavior, congress, crotch, dogs, dogs will be dogs, foley monster, genitalia, groin, humor, internet, pets, photos, pictures, politics, privates, representative, terrier, twitter, weiner, yorkshire
Y’all know how much I love Craigslist — the website where you can click your way across the country in search of used stuff, finding everything from hookahs to hookers, often right there in your own hometown.
In recent months, I’ve navigated its blue hyperlinked byways a lot. I’ve fallen into a few of its potholes, such as houses listed for rent that really aren’t, but I’ve also met with success. It’s where we found our temporary trailer in Arizona, home for a month, and our mansion basement in North Carolina, home for another.
It was through Craigslist that my sister bought me four lamps to brighten up my “man cave,” the ones by whose light I am writing this post, which, by now, is a few days old.
By the time you read this, Ace and I will have been to Baltimore, reclaimed my life’s possessions from my storage unit and be headed back to move it all into my new place — the small, two-bedroom apartment unit my parents lived in, almost 57 1/2 years ago, when I was born.
Reuniting with my stuff, after 11 months apart, is something I both dread and look forward to. I don’t cherish the idea of packing and hauling and unpacking, especially considering, the last time I dropped in, my stuff was all peppered with mouse poop.
But I look forward to locating, I hope, a few needed things, and, more than that, reminding myself exactly what I have. Not to mention. I’ll get a chance to see some old friends, who don’t live in my storage unit, and reunite with my cardboard girlfriend, who does.
I placed everything in storage — she, who I rescued from a Dumpster, included – at the outset of our travels. I’ve paid $90 a month for it all to have a home — money we’ll now be able to spend on something more exciting, like utilities.
But as I try to decorate my new, unfurnished place in my mind, I find I can’t remember exactly what I have. I know I left some things — the heaviest ones — with the young couple that moved into the rowhouse I was leaving. I know I’ve loaned/given some stuff to friends, but I no longer remember either what it was, or whether it was loaned or given. I don’t think I have a coffee table anymore, or bookshelves, or my TV stand/entertainment center
I know that much of my stuff — it also having been pulled from Dumpsters — is probably not worth hauling in the first place, and won’t fit anywhere once it gets here. But the bigger concern is that I have no handle on what I have, meaning I have no handle on what I need.
I was certain, though, that I didn’t have a dining room table, and my new place has an entire room dedicated to dining. So I turned to Craigslist.
I came across an oak pedestal table offered by a guy named Woody, who lived in Woodleaf. Then I found a maple-looking table and three chairs right here in town, offered by Mr. and Mrs. Sapp, whose home I went by to pick it up.
All my time on Craigslist has led me to discover some interesting regional variances, depending on the town you are virtually visiting.
In Texas, for instance, some rancher might be trying to get rid of his surplus Bob Wire. It’s not unusual, across the country, to find baker’s racks or porch furniture that are made of Rod Iron.
And in North Carolina, and other locations southern and/or rural, you’ll find Chester Drawers.
I’d never heard of Chester Drawers, but a lot of people seemed to be offering them for sale on Craigslist. Initially, I thought Chester Drawers might be like Franklin Desks, an item of furniture named after the person or company who first built or inspired them.
Not until I repeated the term three times in my head did I realize it was malapropism/colloquialism.
I’m not making fun of malapropisms, for I quite love them — from ”oldtimers disease” to “a blessing in the skies” to, my favorite, “a new leash on life.” They add some character to our language and our culture, both of which can get so dry over time that we take them for granite.
I’m not badmouthing Craigslist, either – even though its fraught with scammers and helped kill newspapers, the industry in which I made my living.
Nor am I poking fun at the south — even though some people here pronounce my dog’s name “Ice.” I am a piece of it, and it is a piece of me. I was conceived here (more on that later) born here, schooled here and just maybe it’s where I belong.
Or not. I don’t know yet. All these things, I’m sure, will become clear over time, just as all my stuff will find a proper place, at which time I will no longer be so discombobulated. Give me a month and, I promise, I will be combobulated.
Now, though, I need to find the key to my storage unit lock.
Last time I saw it, it was in my Chester Drawers.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bob wire, chest of drawers, chester drawers, colloquialisms, craigslist, dog's country, dogs, furnishings, furniture, home, housing, humor, malapropisms, moving, north carolina, pets, possessions, rental, road trip, rod iron, storage, stuff, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, winston-salem
Overwhelmed with cats, the Winnipeg Humane Society put together this hilarious appeal — a spoof of the kind of tacky, hyperbolic, low-budget ad anyone who watches late night TV is familiar with.
The shelter found a willing narrator in Andy Hill, the son of Nick Hill, whose was famed for his local furniture store ads in the 1980s, reports Yahoo’s Daily Brew. Nick Hill, who died in 2003, appeared in the ads for Kern-Hill Furniture wearing a 10-gallon hat urging customers to “C’mon Down!”
“Looks like someone left the kitty machine on overnight, and now we have a cat-astrophe on our hands,” Andy Hill says in the ad for a “Kitty Midnight Madness” sale.
Hill touts “Girl cats! Boy cats! Used-to-be boy cats! … Calico cats, Siamese cats, short-hair cats, long-hair cats, no-hair cats, bad-hair cats, spotted cats, striped cats, black cats and white cats.” He even suggests a “lazy cat to cover up that hole in the couch,” and promises “if we can’t find you a cat you love, we’ll give you a (bleepin’) dog!”
“You can’t beat these prices folks, so c’mon down.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, adopt, adoption, advertisement, andy hill, animals, c'mon down, canada, cats, felines, funny, furniture, hucksters, humor, kern hill, kitties, kitty midnight madness, nick hill, pets, shelter, spoof, television, tv, video, winnipeg humane society
It was a windy day, with patches of rain that came and went as I drove from Bangor, through western Maine, New Hampshire and into Vermont on Highway 2 – a rolling ribbon of smooth (mostly) blacktop, dotted with flea markets, farms, campgrounds and more than a few antique stores.
It’s the same road John Steinbeck took 50 years ago with his poodle Charley on the trip that would lead to the book “Travels With Charley” – a book whose place is firmly cemented as a timeless American classic.
The high winds were blowing leaves, at the peak of their color, off the trees, and sending them swirling across the highway like swarms of bees – signaling that nature’s most beautiful and all-too-transitory season would soon be coming to an end.
As I whizzed along through the drizzle, one particular antique store caught my eye — though not in time to stop — because, among the other things its sign advertised, was: “Ephemera.”
As the antique barn disappeared in my rearview mirror, I kept repeating the word aloud, which I tend to do when I confront an unusual word while driving alone with Ace. He responds with head tilts and funny looks, and he did so especially with “ephemera,” probably because it sounds, to him, vaguely like “dinner.”
I had a fair notion what ephemera was — just as I have a fair notion of what curios, trinkets, knick-knacks and bric-a-brac are. I knew ephemera was not a perfume, though it sounds like one; or a prescription drug, though it sounds like one; or a skin condition, though it sounds like one.
What, I fantasized, if I had stopped at the shop? The door, I’m sure, would have had a bell on it that jingled when I entered, and a friendly proprietor would have approached, who would have reminded me of one of the characters on the Bob Newhart Show (the one where he had an inn).
“Yes,” I’d say. “I understand you have ephemera.”
“Indeed we do,” the proprietor would say, rubbing his dry, chapped hands together. “What particular type of ephemera are you interested in – what genre?”
“Oh,” I’d say, “I guess some basic ephemera, run of the mill ephemera.”
“What is it you collect?” he’d say.
“It varies,” I’d answer. “Unemployment. Plastic bags to pick up dog poop. Dust. Dog hair. Fast food coupons. My thoughts.”
“I see, but what exactly are you looking for today, ephemera-wise?”
“Well, I’m pretty open,” I’d say. “But I want some good, sturdy ephemera — something that lasts.”
At that point, he’d look puzzled and begin pointing out items on his dusty shelves – defunct board games, old movie posters, paper dolls, airsickness bags, cigar boxes, bookplates, old fashioned Coca-Cola bottles, baseball cards, lunch pails, seed company advertisements, old maps and calendars from years past.
“And there’s this,” he’d say, picking up a Life magazine with Marilyn Monroe on the cover. “This is classic ephemera.”
“Do you have any more modern-day ephemera?” I’d question.
“Only this Justin Bieber CD, this Kentucky Fried Chicken sandwich that uses slabs of chicken in lieu of bread, and these Kindles – but we’re not totally sure yet they will be ephemeral.”
“I guess we can only hope.”
“But if people are preserving it, is it really ephemeral?” I’d ask. “By collecting it, or selling at high prices, as you do, these things that no longer have much use, does not that run counter to their very ephemerality – taking something intended to be transitory and short term and preserving it for eternity? Isn’t ‘classic ephemera’ a contradiction in terms?”
“Yes and no,” he’d say.
With that, I would take my leave, more confused than I was when I entered. I’d turn on my wipers to shoo the fallen leaves off my windshield. I’d check my gas tank – gas, now there’s something that’s truly ephemeral – give Ace a pat on the head and keep heading west.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 11th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, antique shops, antiques, curios, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, ephemera, humor, john steinbeck, junk, maine, new england, new hampshire, passing, pets, pop culture, popularity, road trip, steinbeck, transitory, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley, trends, vermont, word, words
Remember that kudzu dog I showed you a few weeks back?
The one I encountered in Alabama?
Maybe it was just the power of suggestion — that after seeing that first one, it made me tend to see more, whether they were there or not. Perhaps one sees in kudzu what they want to see, or perhaps I’ve been writing about dogs too long. I became a little obsessed with kudzu dogs, making u-turns to go back for a second look, pulling off on the narrow shoulders of highways to take pictures as big trucks rumbled by and made the car shake.
It led to some reflection — some self-questioning, at which I am a master. I’d hate to die while taking pictures of kudzu dogs. It’s not exactly a noble cause. Maybe, it made me think, it’s time to get a real job.
I thought: Here I am, a 56 — soon to be 57 — year-old man, spending his day looking for kudzu dogs, as opposed to, say, being assistant vice president of somethingoranother. Have I traveled too far down Whimsy Road? Is it time to drop the gypsy thing and get serious and responsible — get a job and home, settle down and shut the heck up? It was one of those look in the (rearview) mirror moments.
But when I looked in the mirror I saw — in addition to me, and that I needed to shave, and Ace — a clump of kudzu back down the road a piece that looked exactly like Snoopy.
So I got back on the highway, made two more u-turns and took some more pictures as big trucks rumbled by.
Then I proceeded north, still questioning myself – and still seeing dogs in the kudzu:
Stop looking for dogs in kudzu, I told myself. I couldn’t do it. I wondered if it might be a disorder of some sort, or perhaps a sign that, whimsical though it is, I should pursue my plans to establish the Kud-Zoo.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a dog writer that I’m seeing dogs in the kudzu. Elephant or giraffe writers might look at the same clump and see elephants or giraffes i the kudzu. But they sure look like dogs to me. This one (left), for instance, is clearly a kudzu poodle. See his little paws? He appears to be licking them, or maybe trying to remove a burr.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my like looking for dogs in kudzu, but I fear — to some extent — I will. Maybe it’s not an entirely bad thing.
There are worse compulsions.
And it’s not like I’m doctoring any photographs. All of the above are “unretouched,” as they say. Nothing has been manipulated. That would be wrong, and, given my photoshopping skills, detectable.
And it would make my situation only more pitiful yet — that of a man spending half his life looking for dogs in kudzu, half of it taking photos of them, and half of it retouching those photos so they look even more like dogs.
And that just wouldn’t add up to much of a life at all.
(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 27th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, animals, compulsion, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, humor, john woestendiek, kudzu, kudzu dogs, life, obsession, ohmidog!, pets, photography, photos, plants, preoccupation, road trip, self-questioning, topiary, travel, traveling with dogs, unretouched, vine, weeds