Tuesday, December 27, 2016

See You In the New Year

Have a wonderful holiday. See you in 2017.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Great Ham Caper

My wife, Stacy, wrote a poem way back in Christmas 2006. It's about us and our cats, Rufus and Sam.

Her poem was got some serious Web traffic, and it's been rerun annually since. Since we moved we have adopted a few more cats.

It's bittersweet now, since big red Rufus died on December 5, 2014. It was cancer and there was nothing we could have done. He had a wonderful life. He adored Stacy, who tamed him from a wild cat from the big city to a sweet, round, purring house cat. He had no idea he was on the Internet, of course.

For auld lang syne, here is the poem again, starring our two cats from Brooklyn, Rufus and Sam (Sam is alive and well and looking out of my studio window as I type this):

The Great Ham Caper

Words by Stacy Lynch
Pictures by Mike Lynch

’Twas the week before Christmas
When Rufus and Sam
Hatched a devious scheme
To make off with the ham!

The ham that would grace
The holiday table!
Roo was the brains.
Sam, wiry and able.

They devised a plan
Of Goldbergian proportions
With pulleys and weights
And kitty contortions.

And on Christmas day
They’d eat until stuffed
(The very idea
Made their tails slightly puffed!)

’Til then, they’d lay low,
Little angels to see.
But that made us suspicious –
Wouldn’t you be?

So we snooped and we sleuthed
And uncovered their caper -
“The Ham-Stealing Plan”
Diagrammed on a paper!

“No silly cat’s gonna
Steal my roast beast,”
Exclaimed Mike. “Just watch,
I’ll ruin their feast!”So he countered their scheming
With mad plans all his own
And all I could do
Was inwardly groan!

Who’d win this contest
Of wits they were planning?
Would Mike, Roo or Sam -
Be last man or cat standing?

As Christmas day dawned
The four of us waited
For the ham to be served
With breaths that were bated.

But before the main course
Could even be plated
Their plans took a turn.
Some say it was fated...

What happened to stop them
So cold in their tracks?
Why, cat-nip and husb-nip
(in big canvas sacks)Was all that it took
To stop their foul warring.
And they rolled and purred
And drooled on the flooring.And as long as I kept
My fingers and toes
Away from a hubby and two cats
In nip’s throes -
My own Christmas day
Turned out merry and calm;
The ham moist and succulent,
The champagne, a balm.

When they “awoke”,
hostilities abated,
We all ate some ham
And went to bed sated.

And such peace we wish
To you and to yours:
An end to fighting;
An end to wars.

Happy Holidays!

Mike and Stacy and Rufus and Sam

UPDATE: and, the "new" cats: Dexter and Dropcloth and Fergus.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

It's time to be with family. So, this blog will be quiet for a time. I'll see you soon.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Paul Peter Porges 1927 - 2016

The long-time cartoonist for New Yorker, Playboy and Mad Magazine Paul Peter Porges died this week in NYC at the age of 89.

He was born in Vienna in 1927. At the age of eleven, due to Hitler's purges, his parents sent him and his brother Kurt to a children's camp near Paris. But the Germans kept advancing, and from 1940 to 41, he was moved several times in attempts to get ahead to safety. He was, at one point, wandering the woods by himself at the age of thirteen. "It was fantastic! But don't tell anyone," remembered Porges some 67 years later.

Despite his movements, Porges was ultimately captured and interned in a deportation camp. Porges escaped by hiding in a garbage collection, and was smuggled to Switzerland along with a group of other juvenile refugees in 1942. The Swiss authorities discovered the group and sent everyone but Porges back to France; Porges was spared because he was the only one younger than sixteen. He remained there for the duration of the war, attending art school, receiving his certificat d'etude, and meeting his future wife, Lucie Eisenstab. The two had been born months apart in the same hospital back in Vienna.
With his brother's help, he moved to America where he served in the US Army. His brother was also able to get visas for their parents, who had survived a concentration camp.

Peter served in the army, drawing cartoons while stationed in Korea. He was soon married to Lucie Eisenstab. After the war he continued drawing gag cartoons, eventually becoming a contract cartoonist for the Saturday Evening Post beginning in the 1950s. A prolific cartoonist, his gags appeared in many magazines. Beginning in 1966, he sold work to Mad Magazine, eventually contributing 200 articles. 

Michael Maslin has a remembrance here.

Mark Evanier: Paul Peter Porges R.I.P.


 DON'T LOOK NOW BUT IT'S CHRISTMAS AGAIN is a small paperback by Fritz Wegner and is copyright 1983 by same. Published by Patrick Hardy Books, this wonderfully rendered volume shows us Santa, angels, shepherds, flocks, Botticelli and pretty much anything related to ye olde tyme Chistmases.

Before seeing this, I had never heard of Fritz Wegner. Heck, I couldn't find his site. Windriver Studios has a short bio here.

Fritz Wegner was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924, but was naturalized as a British subject. He studied at St. Martins School of Art from 1939 to 1942, and later became a guest lecturer. He eventually began doing freelance work, which included exhibition design for the Ministry of Agriculture royal shows.

Wegner's professional career has encompassed stamp design, advertising for English and American clients, and illustrations in books, magazines and periodicals. He is ardent about illustrating children's books and has enjoyed collaborating on the production of religious advent cards. Collecting prints, books and musical instruments and painting for pleasure are a few of the activities that occupy his spare time.
I like his cartoon style, with its almost painterly pen noodling. Some of the gags are great. These are just a few samples.

-- From an original blog post of five years ago this day.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Wordless Gag Cartoons 1944-1964.

Thanks to Friend-of-this-blog Dick Buchanan, he has wandered the dusty piles of his old magazines and scanned in a selection of fifteen cartoons without words and shared them with us. Take it away, Dick!


At one time or another several magazines had a feature titled “Too Funny for Words” featuring cartoons without captions. Here are some cartoons that fall into that special category--some amusing if not necessarily “too funny” cartoons by some of the best cartoonists of their time.

1. AL ROSS. For Laughing Out Loud. July-September, 1963

2. GEORGE la MENDOLA (George Dole). 1000 Jokes Magazine. Fall, 1950

3. CORKA. (Jon Cornin & Zena Kavin) Liberty. August 10, 1946

4. CLYDE LAMB. Judge. October 1953

5. TOM HENDERSON. Collier’s. July 8,1955

6. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty. September 9, 1944

7. TON SMITS. 1000 Jokes Magazine. March-May, 1962

8. CEM (CHARLES E. MARTIN) The Saturday Evening Post. September 29, 1962

9. CHARLES ADDAMS. True Magazine. October 1949

10. BOB BARNES. 1000 Jokes Magazine. Fall, 1950

11. JOHN GALLAGHER. Collier’s. March 16, 1953

12. HENRY SYVERSON. Look Magazine. January 28, 1964

13. PETER PORGES. The Saturday Evening Post. September 29,1962

14. STAN HUNT. 1000 Jokes Magazine. May-July, 1955

15. CLYDE LAMB. 1000 Jokes Magazine. Summer, 1951

FYI: In May, 1955, The Gag Re-Cap (a publication for cartoonists and gag writers covering major magazines) reported 
that out of 94 magazines there were 924 cartoons published, of which 20% were no caption gags—194 to be exact..


Thanks, Dick, for this amazing selection.

Here are more of DIck's great gag cartoon finds:

1953 George Booth Drawings for American Legion Magazine

Dick Buchanan: Winter/Christmas/Holiday Gag Cartoons 1940s-60s

Dick Buchanan: Some PUNCH Magazine Cartoons 1948-1963

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1946-64

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1947-62

Dick Buchanan: Some Favorite Magazine Gag Cartoons 1940-60s

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1931-64

Monday, December 19, 2016

See You Soon

I'll be away for a short time. Back soon.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade - A Star Wars Fan Film

Hey actor/filmmaker Jamie Costa and some fans of STAR WARS got together and did this little Han Solo short. It's fun and worth watching all eleven minutes of it. There is a good ending and it actually made me laugh and kept me interested in it. Now, that said, it's a small movie with volunteers and a limited budget. Keep that in mind before ya'll get all critical on it. This is definitely a labor of love.

Friday, December 16, 2016

1953 George Booth Drawings for American Legion Magazine

Here are a dozen 1953 George Booth cartoon drawings for American Legion Magazine. These drawings were done for the "Parting Shots" section, a regular feature. As you can see, this is in a different style than he had developed later. Regardless, these are early, practically unseen George Booth cartoons and they are a lot of fun to see.

I had the pleasure of visiting with him and his daughter this summer. George talked about this time. We recorded it, and I am hoping our chat will become a published interview (with his approval, of course). A big thanks to Dick Buchanan for taking these American Legion magazines out of his collection and scanning and sharing. It was Dick's idea to do this and a wonderful idea it is!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bill Charmatz Drawings in September 1962 HORIZON

$2,700,000 was appropriated by the congress in 1962 to launch a massive "Visit USA" program. Here are some of the actual posters (upper right) and some wonderful inky drawings by prolific illustrator Bill Charmatz (1925-2005) "supplement the posters of the United States Travel Service on these pages, to remind any latter-day Columbus of what he should be prepared to discover."

This originally appeared in HORIZON "A Magazine of the Arts," which was actually a slim, bimonthly hardcover published from 1958 to 1989, first by American Heritage and then by Boone, Inc. I believe the material here is copyright American Heritage.