On April 5, 1908, little Ruth E. Davis was born in Massachusetts. Always strong-willed and determined, she eventually became a great actress in many classic films and even on stage. She is iconic, an inspiration. Her self-esteem is its own legend and her willingness to be forthright and not at all shy about voicing unpopular opinions must have been very liberating. She’s our chosen face of Sneer Campaign, and we reference her in our daily lives as much as we can.
This brings us to this day, one of the most important religious holidays for us. Although celebrated around the world, the suggested activities are somewhat new and traditions are still being formed for St. Bette Day. However, there are some things that are always appropriate. You can do one of these, or do them all in a whirlwind that other people will have to remember for you because you’ll be having too much fun. You’ll have to just remember April 6th, the Day of the Strangely Satisfying Hangover. No regrets!
It’s that time of year again, the Dollissiest day of the calendar! Last year, the very first celebration on this site of this holy day was a thundering success. Paper Dollissas were THE most popular toy among children aged 4-104, and it is no surprise. Everyone loves paper dolls.
This year I decided to simply draw our little world in the style of Richard Scarry, who happens to have been born on a June 5th, himself, and also happens to be one of Dollissa’s favorite illustrators! For some reason, I was never exposed to Busytown very much at all, even though it has been around since the 1960s, but I can easily imagine the Sneer Planet through the Scarry Lens. In fact, after drawing this today, I can imagine the normal human earth world through the Scarry Lens. I am not entirely displeased.
Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, and little rodents around the country will be telling us whether it will be an early spring or six more weeks of horrible but I guess pretty mild winter. We will creep up on them in their cozy little habitats, throw loud parties and make weird speeches as we wait to see if the poor little fella will have a shadow.
The most famous of these guys is the one and only Punxsutawney Phil. As we look to the noble rodent after this tepid, confusing season, we (most of us) hope for an early spring. Please, Phil, don’t see your shadow! Let’s hope for whatever sort of weather would result in this natural occurrence not happening.
O humble Phil, king of the meteorologists of the animal kingdom! O Phil of the clouds, of the rain and wind, of the cold and heat. Phil of the ages. Sing us your song of fear and hope. Your silent song of understanding. Tell us, oh wise one: what will the weather be?
I’m sure you’ve heard of Festivus. This cult holiday phenomenon came to the masses from the greatest show ever on television, Seinfeld, 18 years ago. In Season 9, episode 10, The Strike, it comes to light that George’s father does not celebrate Christmas, but a holiday of his own making. He created the holiday, as the story goes, in response to the commercialization of the season (aka he got into a fight with a man over a doll).
It might surprise you to know that people actually celebrate this holiday. Some of those people include my father, and the father of a Seinfeld writer, Dan O’Keefe.
What you should really understand, though, is that Festivus is a state of mind. Just like (some people say) Christmas is more about family and giving selflessly than gathering piles of gifts, Festivus is about living your life a certain way. A Costanza-y way.
I had a dream not so long ago that I was in a very nice but strange house that was hosting a casual sort of cocktail party. I found a study and tried to use the phone to call someone to come to get me, but, as usual, couldn’t remember any phone numbers or dial correctly. After a while, Carl Sagan came into the room. I was in his house! He explained to me that we live simultaneous lives across many, many realities and even though you might die in some of them, you still live on in others. He also mentioned that when we sleep, sometimes we dream, and sometimes we just visit other realities, and that I wasn’t exactly dreaming here, in this dream. All of the explanations included nifty graphics. And he wasn’t very old, so there was talk about the way timelines work or something. He was very nice. I was given snacks.
In celebration of this, my very real religious experience, and in celebration of Carl Sagan’s birthday (November 9th of every year), I have drawn him as every one of the Sailor Scouts. From Sagan Mercury to Sagan Pluto, he inspires us, protects us, and brings us peace in our daily lives.
A true hero.
The saying “the best things in life are free” is barely true, but true nonetheless. I mean, come on. But there are indeed great things that are free, such as sunshine, stretching, cats, sneers, and freemium apps. There is also friendship. For me, one of the best things in life is Amandoll.
We have a lot of things in common, or possibly most things. Here are some things that are unique to Amandoll and also great: drawing talent, belly dancing, childhood ponies, eating healthy, exercise, ferrets, Cincinnati, buttermilk, and ME. She is the sprinkles on my donut, the sour cream on my taco. Amandoll is the scissors to my paper doll, and so I have made her one.
Okay so here’s the deal. I am not originally from New Jersey. I was born in Florida, but moved here at age 12 or so. I have not left since then, not for longer than 2 weeks, anyway (or for 9 weeks, those two times I stayed the entire summer at camp). I hated it at first. I remember one of my first summer camp interactions being an argument about whether or not New Jersey was terrible. I was on the wrong side of the argument back then and I said it was indeed terrible. But I was 14 or 15, and everything WAS terrible.
Later, I learned that New Jersey is not just a wonderful place to be, but also has its own abundance of wonderful things! For example, our state insect is the highly superior honeybee, and the story is that a group of schoolchildren convinced the governor that the honeybee was the appropriate choice in 1974. Our state animal is the horse, what better option! We even have a state cryptid, my good friend, The Jersey Devil.
I am always telling people that our superhero of New Jersey is Cory Booker. I have even probably written an article for one of my print publications with this same headline to that effect. But as much as I love Senator Booker, he can’t do the dirty work that real, super, superheros can do, by virtue of being unaffiliated politically, I suppose.
So, if you haven’t heard, I’m proud to present, New Jersey’s Original Superhero: The Toxic Avenger.
Born in Tromaville, New Jersey, Melvin Ferd III was a standard nerd. While working as a janitor at the local health club, he is literally bullied out a window, after being tricked into putting on a pink tutu. He falls out the window right into some toxic waste, of course. After running home, The Toxic Avenger is born, mutated from poor, bullied Melvin into a superstrong, supergood, superviolent Superhero.
The Shaq Man is a complicated character in our current culture. Much of what is thought about him is untrue, and there is a lot that is not commonly known that is fascinating. In about one hundred and fifty years, it is guaranteed that he will be seen as a folk legend, a gentleman known for being preposterously large and gentle. First known as a sportsman, Mr. O’Neal has recently retired and is pursuing his destiny in other fields. Here are some facts (Shaqts), speculations, and mild exaggerations to help you get to know Newark, New Jersey’s tallest star.
You know how there are words out there for highly specific emotions? Like adronitis, the frustration over how long it takes to get to know someone. Or liberosis, the desire to care less about things. Is there a word for that feeling you get when you believe that there must be alternate realities that exist closely in space to your own reality, so close that they are ALMOST your reality, and that reality is that your real dad is cartoon buffoon Hong Kong Phooey? Does that even make sense? Great.
Well, since I was a very small child, I have had this feeling occasionally. And as I’ve aged, the feeling has lessened a bit, but it’s still there inside of me, shaping my personality to some extent.
Unlike other forms of insanity I probably have, this one can be traced directly to my mother. For as long as I’ve lived, my mother has always told this story about how she and some of the rest of my extended family took my older brother, then an only child, to see a Hanna-Barbera Icecapades show. While there, Hong Kong Phooey apparently took a liking to her and showed his ardor by sitting on her lap and dragging her from the audience to dance with her in front of everyone. She concludes this oft-told story by saying, “And then, nine months later, Amanda was born.” Everyone laughs. Everyone always laughs. But once upon a time, I believed her. I was too young to understand that my mom might be kidding, but apparently old enough to catch the implication that Hong Kong Phooey was my real dad.
It turns out that if you start life thinking that you are half-cartoon, it kind of sticks with you, there in the middle, for all of the rest of your life. I mean, I know I am not actually a half-cartoon! Don’t send me to the asylum yet. Anyway, it would clearly have been an actor dressed up like Hong Kong Phooey, not the real poorly-animated dog. It would be like thinking that Santa and Mall Santas are the same thing. No! Regardless, in my idle time, I start to wonder what my alternate reality life must be like, the one where HKP was not an absentee father. Let’s look at my art therapy session.