Friday, September 6, 2013

Cartoon Messages

 In the “GO” section of the Hamilton Spectator are travel suggestions...local events to attend...activities of the celebrities...gardening for seasonal fruits and vegetables...good health directives.  The main attractions to me are the Crossword Puzzle...Sudoku...and a full page of comic strips which intrigue me as they depict life with a touch of humour, a touch of irony perhaps or a fluff of philosophy to strengthen one's day.  From these cartoons, one views personal qualities with a new perspective!

Mutts ~ is one of my favourite comic strips.  It usually features Earl, a small dog with a big heart...cheerfully tugging at the leash on the walk of life and Mooch, Earl's feline pal, the “tuxedo” kitty with his own way of thinking and talking. Ozzie is Earl's guardian and best friend and of him says, “He's the guy who feeds me treats...rubs my belly...and takes me for rides ~ my Ozzie! There are about a dozen other characters in the strip including Sid the Fish.  All these characters live near parkland...and the sandy beach along ocean water.
.                                       Walking together, Earl and Mooch believe as Henry Ford:
“Obstacles are those frightful things
you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

I loved Saturday's issue of Mutts in colour.  A vertical picture on the left shows the wavy blue ocean water with a huge orange sun beginning to descend from the sky...approaching the horizon.  The remaining large rectangle  is divided into 3 long horizontal spaces.  Try to visualize this as Earl and Mooch in the top section, walk toward the sandy beach beside the ocean blue, and observing the setting orange sun, Mooch comments, “Every night the sun shlips gently into the sea.” 

 In the middle horizontal scene, as the sun disappear halfway below the horizon, Mooch   again comments, “...and the cool water gently puts the hot flames to rest. Earl looks questioningly at Mooch trying to understand his pal’s thinking. 

The lower picture depicts the sun gone from view...the sky and waters both darkened.  Earl exclaims, “Ahh...” and Mooch, this magnificent sunset fully enthralling him, with his “arms extended outward  and upward” into the deep purple sky,...philosophically says, “The Wisdom of Nature!”

A Few More of My Favourite Cartoon Strips:

Hagar the Horrible ~ is a caricature of medieval Scandinavian life.  Hagar is a shaggy, scruffy, overweight red-bearded Viking.  As a warrior, he regularly raids England and southern France.  His “dress” with horned helmet makes him look  somewhat like a cave man...but you also know that he has a soft heart.. Much of the humour centers around Hagar's interactions with his longship crew, especially Lucky the tavern (where he spends much time)...or at home with his combative wife, Helga...their brilliant and sensitive son, Hamlet...the pretty but domestically hopeless daughter, Honi...Helga's pet duck, Kvack. There is also Hagar's loyal and clever dog, Snert...often Hagar's mother-in-law comes to visit (which to him is a dreaded experience!)

Blondie ~ began her cartoon life as a gorgeous flapper who had a list of boyfriends (one of whom was Dagwood Bumstead.)  Later they fell in love and married. Dagwood and Blondie had to go out in the world and hack it like the rest of us.  Settling down to a modest lifestyle with children and a dog, Daisy, they greatly became concerned with real life.  Today they appear together in blissful love and happiness. Characters in the comic strip include the personnel in Dagwood's office...Blondie's catering business...their neighbours...the mailman…a  boy who frequents  Dagwood to show or tell something.

Hi and Lois ~ The cast of this classic American comic strip provides a warm, loving portrait of a wholesome family with traditional values and modern day sensibilities.  The main characters are Hi (Hiram) and Lois Flagstone who have four children (she works part time as a realtor).  Chip is a stereotypical, slovenly teenage boy...Dot and Ditto are rambunctious twins...Trixie, their blonde baby girl loves talking to Sunbeam (a ray of sunlight that comes through her morning window.)  Dawg is the family's large shaggy sheep dog.  Thirsty and Irma Thurston are their friendly neighbours.

Adam at Home ~ follows the life of Adam Newman, a stay-at-home-dad who  juggles his busy family life and career job…Adam Newman Enterprises... from his home computer.  A caffeine addict, he spends his days at his computer, occasionally slacking off with coffee and tending his baby son, Nick.  He dreads the summertime when his older children will be home tearing up the house and begging him to take them out.  Laura, his wife, works at a bookstore…and becomes his ‘salvation’ when she returns from work to take the kids off his hands.  (Clayton and Katy elementary school students.)

Pickles ~  The strip describes the efforts of Earl and Opal Pickles in their 70’s to enjoy retirement, which instead proves quite imperfect for both.  Earl is characterized by having a bald head, wears glasses, has a bushy white moustache and wears suspenders.  Opal is characterized as somewhat chubby, bespectacled  and is often seen wearing purple polka-dotted dresses and white sneakers.  When sitting, she is usually seen with her pet cat, Muffin, on her lap. The cast includes their dog, Rascoe, their grandson, Nelson (who often visits grandma and grandpa)…a crony friend of Earl’s, whom he frequently meets at a nearby park to discuss how their world turns.
to love each other.

Zits ~ is about the life of Jeremy Duncan, a 16-year-old High School sophomore,  as he tries to balance his family life…social life…academic demands of High School…and his plans for the future.  He aspires to be a rock musician, spending much time with his music friends  and their band.  Connie Duncan, his mother is a child psychologist but only works part time since Jeremy’s  birth. She acts as the disciplinarian for him.  He doesn’t share much with his parents…yet she is willing to listen to him. Walt Duncan, his father, an orthodontist, finds it impossible to hold a conversation with his son.

Between Friends ~ Created by a Canadian cartoonist, it offers a near-telepathic view of female psyche and illustrates the essence and angst of modern women.  It chronicles the highs and lows of three archetypal women in their early 40’s who have known each other since High School.  Susan who balances her full time job with responsibilities at home…Maeve, the sophisticated divorced professional who’s always looking for Mr. Right…and Kim who works at home while taking care of her 6-year-old stepson.  They talk to each other re…aging…dating exes…motherhood…guilt…the pros   & cons of Botox.. Readers may recognize themselves or friends in this contemporary slice-of-life strip.

Sherman’s Lagoon ~ is an imaginary place in the tropics inhabited by a cast of sea creatures whose lives are curiously similar to our own.  The cartoonist explores many of the issues we face daily in our lives on dry land.  By putting them in a different context, he helps us laugh at ourselves.  His characters attempt new business ventures…go on disastrous dates…try fad diets…and read the latest best-selling books.  But they also have problems relating to fish.  Sherman, the main character is a great white shark who is completely unaware of how intimidating his species can be.  He gets pushed around by the other characters…namely Hawthorne (the hermit crab)…Fillmor (the sea turtle)...and his wife, Megan (who is another great white shark, of course).  The cartoonist takes his characters on “road trips” where they explore different parts of the ocean and meet nature animals along the way.

Pooch Café ~ is a comic strip that follows Poncho’s interactions with humans…namely Chazz (his master who rescued him from the dog pound) and his loving wife, Carmen, who owns a brood of 6 cats…and Poncho’s adventures with his fellow dogs ( 7 of them). Other semi-recurring characters are Tito (the garbage man),  Sheldon (a pigeon) and Margo (a dog-walker).  The strip takes its name from the café where Poncho and his friends gather to compare notes about life among humans.

Words of Wisdom re Quality:

Never blame anyone in your life ~ good people bring you Happiness.
Bad people give you Experience. Worst people teach you a Lesson.
Best people give you Memories!
(Thank  you, Dilu for these words.)

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr … August 24, 2013
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  1. One of my ardent followers, inspirational in introducing me to this blog creation, wrote:
    "My officially favourite cartoon is The Far Side. After that, Calvin and Hobbes. With many of Life's situations, I can usually think of a Far Side to mimic it."

  2. "The Far Side" is a cartoon I also enjoyed...but seldom see it. In Saturday's issue only is "Cornered" by Mike Baldwin which usually has a detailed colour picture with humourous remark. Thank you for your continued interest and comments.