Stephanie Remembered

June 16th, 2016

stephanie-on-guard.jpg Here’s the third cat that ever lived with me, Stephanie, posing by a boxful of 16mm film, sometime in the early 1970s. Stephanie was loyal, sweet, long-suffering and a true friend. She came to me as a kitten, given to me by my old friend Mike Sanger. She was named after our favorite waitress at the old Van de Kamp’s coffee shop over on Fletcher Drive. Stephanie the waitress served us our morning coffee and bear claws several times a week, as Mike and I spun tales and built animated air castles. Stephanie the cat was always around the little rented house I had on Fargo Street. She loved to eat Kitty Queen cat food, mostly liver and kidney flavors. I had a somewhat cruel little game I played with her. I squeezed her, and she growled. When I squeezed her in rhythm, she seemed to growl out: “Way, down upon the Swanee RIV-ER!” The word “Riv-er” was always growled out in two quick squeezes. I really deserved to get scratched or clawed for playing rough with her that way, but the sweet little cat never lashed out. After I did my trick with her, to the entertainment of folks, Stephanie usually jumped out the window and didn’t return for awhile. But in the morning, I’d wake up and she would be snuggled next to me in bed. She didn’t usually make much noise except for when I squeezed her, and when she was hungry. She had a gentle, high-pitched “meow”.  As the years went by, Stephanie, an already gray cat, got a bit grayer. But she was still always nearby, never a lap cat, but quite a companion. I admit I took her pretty much for granted and was never very sentimental about her. I found out how much I cared for her, when tooth problems led to mouth cancer which ultimately killed her. I had to have her put “to sleep” by our veterinarian, and I refused to look at her body, with tears in my eyes. stephanie-and-cathy.jpg Here’s another portrait of my wife Cathy, holding Stephanie. Steph is her usual compliant self, and you can see just how much Cathy loves cats by her expression. Cathy was much more gentle with her than I was. These two pictures were taken by my dear friend, Vincent Davis, and I have many more photos of Stephanie, even a black and white 16mm movie of Steph roaming the yard at the old Fargo Street house. She was with me more than 10 years, and I’ll never forget her.

felix-1-29-to-2-4-33.jpg Here’s Felix, 1-29 through 2-4-1933. The Sunday is the first chapter of a continuity involving Felix and his girlfriend Phyllis. I love Otto’s little feminine poses he uses on Phyllis. A frozen soap bubble becomes a Crystal Ball to reveal the couple’s future. In the dailies, Felix gets Danny a job as a delivery boy so that he won’t pay so much attention to Doris. The story develops as a package that Danny is assigned to deliver ticks like a bomb. In the 2-4, you’ll see the conclusion of the “fish story”.

myrtle-11-1-to-11-7-48.jpg Myrtle is from 11-1 to 11-7-1948. My two favorite dailes are the 11-3, in which Junior talks Bingo out of learning to twirl a Yo-Yo, for a very “canine” reason. I also like the 11-6, as Freddie stops an annoying “thumping” noise by putting his foot on Bingo’s tail. There’s something extra “right-around-homey” about this gag. In the Sunday, Freddie is putting anti-freeze in his car which turns out to be a can of maple syrup, and Bingo and Junior want to chase Hyacinth the Cat from “here to Christmas”.


 Krazy is from 2-8 to 2-10-1943 this time, with 2-9 missing. The whole week revolves around egg rationing in Coconino, everyone is allowed one egg a week. This story reflects World War Two rationing, you’ll note there aren’t any ration cards yet. Ignatz of course, rebels against this state of affairs by getting an Ostrich egg and adopting his own chicken. I like the 2-14 best, as Offissa Pupp gets spanked by an egg-juggling stranger who thinks that Pupp and Ignatz are running a confidence racket. We’ll see you next, when the cats learn to make cream from moonbeams! (By the way, do any of you readers have the Krazy Kat daily from 2-9-1943? I offer a lifetime subscription to the Catblog if you do.)

LATE EXTRA: Our faithful reader, G. Heinlein, has contributed the missing Krazy daily from 2-9-1943 which you will find included above. This isn’t the first time Mr. or Ms. Heinlein has contributed to our little enterprise, and we ain’t fergitten!

Soup’s On?

May 24th, 2016

soups-on.jpg Cathy thought that this was a very funny cat photograph.  His name is Tucker, and we love his look of anticipation and the subtle touch of the fork and napkin on the left side. The little fish name tag seems to suggest what this kitty wants for dinner!

felix-1-22-to-1-28-33.jpg Felix is from 1-22 to 1-28-1933 this time. The Sunday page features Felix making a Northwest hero out of himself as he dons a borrowed pair of shoes, then accidentally lures a lot of game animals to the hunter’s cabin. In the dailies, Felix is still trying to quell the romance between Danny Dooit and little Doris. I like the cheap Scotty dog joke in the 1-27.

myrtle-10-25-to-10-31-48.jpg Myrtle is from 10-25 to 10-31-1948. I like the 10-25 as Myrtle squirts Sampson with her father’s fountain pen and quips that she’s “writing off a few debts”! Dudley Fisher’s poses are beautiful in the 10-30 as Susie hugs Freddie for bringing her flowers, she’s leaning so far over that she’s nearly off-balance. The Sunday page is a Halloween special, the little ghost that appears to Slug in the right hand panel, and Hyacinth the cat looking into the apple tub are nice touches.

krazy-kat-2-1-to-2-6-43.jpg Krazy is from 2-1 to 2-6-1943 this time, War time. Ignatz combats the blackouts by painting Offissa Pupp’s buttons and star with phosphorous paint, Ignatz faints dead away over “synthetic” coffee (probably Postum) and Joe Stork delivers a “bindle” to Offissa Pupp by mistake due to the blackouts. Mrs. Kwakk-Wakk thinks that Pupp is kidnapping an infant! In Coconino County, the World War Two restrictions, rationing and blackouts are the stuff of Komedy.

Mr. Sun Delivers!

May 10th, 2016


Gentle readers, Mr. Sun has really delivered the power! If you examine the statement above on the bottom, we generated 54 Kilowatt Hours more than we used. That power is now “banked” in the Glendale Power Grid for us to draw upon when we need it. The chart on the top took me awhile to figure out, but the “APR 16″ Bar really says it all, we actually posted negative use for electricity in the current billing cycle! The Bar shrunk to a little blue rectangle at the bottom of the chart. Of course, you know that Kilowatt Hours are a measure of the power our Solar panels generate, and Watts or Watt Hours are a measure of the energy actually USED. Just think, ONE Kilowatt Hour is enough energy to power a TV set for 10 clock hours, a radio for 20 hours and a computer for 5 to 10 hours depending on how much the computer is doing. What I don’t understand is: Why aren’t MORE people doing this? WHY are people content to permit the big oil and coal companies to frack, drill, strip-mine and remove mountain tops when they can generate their own Kilowatt Hours and run a surplus? Why do the idiots still shout “Drill, Baby, Drill!”, when they could power an electric car from solar energy? More of us should have converted to Photovoltaic Panels 20 years ago, then maybe Global Warming wouldn’t be the problem that it is for us today. Readers, if you can look at the charts above, and NOT even CONSIDER what Solar Power can do for you, and for the EARTH, then your subscriptions to the Catblog are hereby terminated.

felix-1-15-to-1-21-33.jpg Felix is from 1-15 to 1-21-1933 this time out. In the Sunday, Felix and Frisky are left out in the cold; the farmer takes Frisky’s dog house away for firewood. Felix blows a giant bubble with his pipe and the two animal pals use the frozen bubble for a transparent dog house. In the dailies, Felix still tries to discourage the romance between Danny Dooit and little Doris. I like the “one second elapses” continuity between the 1-20 and 1-21 strips. Felix is shocked into falling off the roof, then Danny thinks that Felix fell off doing pantomime comedy and wants an encore to make Doris laugh. Felix was expecting a Doctor.

myrtle-10-18-to-10-24-48.jpg Myrtle is from 10-18 to 10-24-1948. The 10-18 daily has some of Dudley Fisher’s patented gag timing, as Freddie forgives Myrtle for playing with his car and driving all over the lawn, because she confessed to the crime. In the last panel, Myrtle also tries to get forgiven for smashing the garage door with Freddie’s car by sneaking in a little extra confession. In the 10-21, Myrtle is all set to wreck the indoor playroom that Freddie just built for her by spreading mud all over it. I like the George McManus steal as the portrait of the rabbit on the wall comes to life and looks at the damage Myrtle is doing in the fourth panel. Hyacinth the cat appears in the Sunday page, risking her nine lives playing football with the family.

krazy-1-25-to-1-30-43.jpg Krazy is from 1-25 to 1-30-1943. Garge continues his War gags and does a whole week of “Blackout” jokes. A blackout during the war was accomplished when a community turned out all it’s lights at night to prevent being spotted by enemy aircraft. In the 1-27, Psalm 23:13 is quoted as Offissa Pupp threatens to crush a blackout curtain like a “big bad Bull of Bashan”. Bashan refers to rich pasture land in Israel, east of the river Jordan where cattle thrived and grew especially strong and big. The 1-30 is a rare “inside” glimpse of Herriman’s drawing board as Ignatz pours a bottle of ink over the third panel.

I apologize for the long absense. I deserve to lose all my readers for this, I still enjoy blogging, but it’s a lot of effort for a little screed that you get for free. I used to print a hectograph newspaper when I was a kid and tried to get 3 cents a copy for it. Most of the time I was lucky to sell them for a penny. I used to print about 25 copies an issue. This here blog could be read by millions of people all over the world, but generates not one penny in income. Don’t get me started on the Domain Name fees!

Love Yez, Mark

Rosebud Welcomes Spring

March 31st, 2016

cat-blog-rosebud.jpg Cathy loves this little girl. Her name is Rosebud and she’s a rescue. She fell from the back tire of a bus in Springfield, Illinois, to the horror of two women who took the 8 week old kitten to a local animal shelter. She was adopted by Teresa Gregoir, who says that Rosebud has become the “bosscat” of her two Toms at home. The affectionate Rosebud likes to roll on her back and look up as if to say: “Look at me, I’m beautiful!” She has a face to launch a thousand kits!

felix-1-8-to-1-14-33.jpg Felix is from 1-8 to 1-14-33 this time. In the Sunday, Messmer has fun drawing outlandish dogs and rabbits for a Magician’s act. In the dailies, Felix is jealous of little Doris, Danny Dooit’s new love. We’ll see if the spirit of altruism hits Felix next time and he will accept Doris as a pal.

myrtle-10-11-to-10-17-48.jpg Myrtle is from 10-11 to 10-17-1948 this batch. No Hyacinth this time. I like the 10-13 as Myrtle’s Mom lolls all over the easy chair like a teenager figuring out a math problem. Bingo is funny in the 10-16 as he wears all of the necktie salesman’s product. The Sunday is a flight of fancy, as Freddie dreams that he is back in prehistoric times, complete with a dinosaur.

krazy-kat-1-18-to-1-23-43.jpg Krazy is from 1-18 to 1-23-43 on this tour through the Coconino. The first three strips are about a guard shack and a sleepy Offissa Pupp, and the final three revisit the Draft Board as Krazy tries to rob the coop by drafting eggs, including an “addled” egg and a Chinese thousand year old Duck egg. Herriman is beginning to blend his brand of nonsense with the topicality of the war.

Felix Travels Back to 1-1-1933

March 11th, 2016

felix-1-1-to-1-7-33.jpgFelix projects back in time to Jan. 1, 1933! He is once again the family pet of the Danny Dooit family and having his problems with space and feline respect. Felix could be a fanciful adventurer and traveller, but his 1930s strips were really family strips, the most common and most profitable newspaper comics format. In the 1920s, domestic situations were less common, but by the time of Bringing Up Father, and even more so, Blondie in 1934, a cast of Mom, Pop and 2 kids were comic gold. Sometimes Felix is crowded out of his own strip by the family or machinations of the human characters. We’ll see how he prevails in 1933.

myrtle-10-4-to-10-10-48.jpg Speaking of family strips, here’s Myrtle from 10-4 to 10-10-1948. My favorites are the 10-8 and 10-9, as Myrtle is reduced to knitting at home as Sampson deserts her for a Boy Scout meeting, and when Myrtle is given the go-by as Sampson declines to offer her a ride on his new bike. Her retort is pure Dudley Fisher: “I hope you fall off and break the continuity!” Hyacinth the Cat is not with us this time, not even in the Sunday page, as Myrtle performs an unlikely Juliet to Sampson’s Romeo in amateur theatrics.

krazy-1-11-to-1-17-43.jpg Krazy dailies are from 1-11 to 1-17-1943 and continue to reflect World War 2. Krazy is now in charge of the Coconino draft board and is trying to recruit early birds, worms, snipes and several comical dog characters. I especially like the dogs in the 1-14 and 1-15 strips, as they remind me a bit of Segar’s Wimpy. These dogs are the type to dive for half-finished cigar butts, like Uncle Willie in the Moon Mullins strip and Barney Google in his down and out phases.