Be Honest

Prompt: Agile


Hello Wednesday,

My physiotherapist— treating Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome in my knee, which is much less serious than it sounds— is named Jonathan, and he gives me a series of simple exercises to do each day as “homework”. Just some stretching, bending, balancing, partial squats; but do you think it’s easy for me to keep up the routine? Maybe the issue is calling it homework. Years and years of serious strategizing to avoid all school work but especially the home kind have left me stubborn and resistant. And unlike school work, I can’t suddenly cram all my homework into one session on the Thursday night before my Friday appointment.

So in the interest of impressing Jonathan with improvements in my strength, flexibility, and balance, allow me to leave you with this small collection of favourite yet extremely tangentially agile-themed cartoons, while I go off and twist a few body parts:

cartoon pamplona bull

cartoon gym improv

cartoon blob no exercise


To your good health and flexibility…

~~FP

 

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Waves and Clicks

Prompt: Undulate


Dear Wednesday,

Man has not invented the harmony of music.

It is one of the underlying principles of life. Neither could the harmony of movement be invented: it is essential to draw one’s conception of it from Nature herself, and to see the rhythm of human movement from the rhythm of water in motion, from the blowing of the winds on the world, in all the earth’s movements, in the motions of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and even in primitive man, whose body still moved in harmony with nature…

All the movements of the earth follow the lines of wave motion. Both sound and light travel in waves. The motion of water, winds, trees and plants progresses in waves. The flight of a bird and the movements of all animals follow lines like undulating waves. If then one seeks a point of physical beginning for the movement of the human body, there is a clue in the undulating motion of the wave.

  • Isadora Duncan, The Art of the Dance

Lovely.

Now, on to a selection of my favourite cartoons, which are entirely unrelated to this week’s prompt, “undulate”:

cartoon whale in bar


cartoon sold to paddle


cartoon desert island man


Have a wonderful Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, weekend, month, year, life!

~~FP

The Secret of Success [Repost]

Prompt: Viable

dog_puppy_box_75966_

Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day.Gary Vaynerchuck

All the kids had lemonade stands that summer. It was like the hottest corporate trend among the under-sixes.

In keeping with Lord Samuel’s advice of Location, location, location, my neighbor Tally and her best friend Bo set up shop in the choicest spot, right where the cars turned off the highway, and they had a heavy, dark red cooler full of store-bought ice. They charged the most for their glass of lemonade: twenty-five cents. Many cars stopped and purchased Tally and Bo’s lemonade, because of course they didn’t realize there was cheaper, and in some cases, better lemonade further down the road. Also, once Tally and Bo netted a customer, the customer didn’t tend to bother with any other beverage enterprises, because Tally’s product was consistent and always served in a friendly and appreciative manner. They patronized Tally and Bo’s lemonade stand, exclusively and regularly, even if it did cost a quarter.

Virginia and her two sisters had the best lemonade, since it was hand-squeezed, with lots of sugar but not too much, and a tiny slice of fresh lemon floating on the top, which was what her marketing people (her eldest brother) had recommended. They had the manpower to make ice themselves before opening hours, and a place to warehouse the ice, so all the components of their lemonade were fresh and hand-made, which was quite a selling point, when you come to think of it. Their profits, despite the low margin, were impressive. It was just as Henry Ford once said, The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed, though their lemonade was twenty cents per glass, not a dollar.

Cody and I had set up shop at an intersection with a stop sign, and to be competitive we charged fifteen cents a glass for our lemonade, which was made from frozen cans to save on time and expenses. Unfortunately, we skimped on the ice, and I could tell by the disappointment in the eyes of some of our clients that the missing ice was an issue, even if the lemonade was “ice cold” as advertised on the signage. Cody always smiled and said “We ran out of ice!”, a lie if ever there was one, and not very effective if it was a repeat customer, who might think we lacked in the area inventory skills, as well as salesmanship. So Cody bit his tongue, for as Steve Jobs said, Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations. We added cold Pepsi to our inventory, and just sold it by the can, thereby avoiding the necessity of stocking more paper cups.

Sales were relatively brisk at first, and aside from the ice, there were no registered complaints. But I could visualize where I wanted the business to go, and so far Cody and I were falling short.

To meet the challenge with the ice, we checked with our investors, but since I’d already got an advance on my allowance, no further loan was proffered, even though my request was backed by viable projections. I mean, once we had the ice solution, which involved finding a supplier, we would be huge: too big to fail. I found it rather short-sighted on my mother’s part, and Cody and I faced a disturbing dip in sales.

Then, a miracle happened.

The secret of success in life, said Benjamin Disraeli, is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.

When Molly had six puppies, Cody and I knew what to do.

We set up a small table with an umbrella and three chairs, which while a bit tatty from languishing in the garden shed, provided shade and a place for clients to sit and enjoy their beverages. As soon as the puppies were old enough, Cody and I put the box o’puppies in the shade of the umbrella.

There were cars lined up round the block, and people, tens or twenties of people, buying our cold but iceless lemonade, mingling and chatting, and, mostly, surrounding the puppies and waiting for their turn to cuddle one.

Tally and Bo came by, and so did Virginia, her three sisters, and her eldest brother, and while they all sniffed at the quality of our product, they appreciated our creativity, and just loved the puppies. I wasn’t bothered by their consternation, since Business is a combination of war and sport (Andre Maurois), after all.

Molly was Cody’s dog, so he supervised the puppy division, while I poured, took cash, and kept inventory. Which, needless to say, was usually depleted before our energy and ambition were, on any given day.

About a week later, my sister got a skateboard. No one else in the neigbourhood had one at that time. It was dark blue, with flames painted on the base. Cody and I closed the stand, since strategy meetings, customer service, and day-to-day operations were taking up so much of our time. We were also eager to reinvest our profits.

And as Walt Disney said, A man should never neglect his family for business.


  • Original Prompt: Legacy, March 10, 2016.

Indoor Cat

Prompt: Treat

 


Dear Wednesday,

What a treat it was to have bright sunshine, clean powder snow, and boys playing hockey on a makeshift frozen-lake skating rink (It’s hard to get more Canadian than that)! Warmer temps are forecast for later in the week, and it will be a shame when the snow turns to grey mush… but for today, a treat!

Our back patio reveals all the surreptitious guests we’ve had over the past few days, because of cat paw prints, quail prints, and mystery creature prints in the snow.  I hope the timing was such that none of them were making prints at the same time (I believe in indoor cats precisely because wild birds are so vulnerable).

Anyway, not related to treats but related to cat paw prints, is this small collection of favourite feline cartoons, which I present to you now:

cartoon two lions


cartoon indoor-cat


cartoon perfect dog


I adore dogs, but I respect cats!

~~FP

Collections

Prompt: Reservation

blue tit art

Evangelica was such a beautiful name, even if she shortened it to “Eva”. Why, it was an even prettier name than Elizabeth, which Leep had always thought to be the prettiest name in the world.

They met for the first time at a cafe called “Benny’s Reubens and More” which they agreed to after a lengthy back-and-forth about restaurants ranging from Famous Chef to take-away. They met at 5:30 pm, and the place was virtually empty; a compact environment of hard surfaces, with a laminated tile floor and polished, country-style oakwood chairs.

So even though the picture in her profile on Plenty of Fish in the Sea was blurry and contained more than one woman, and did not specify which was Evangelina, Leep was able to spot her at a table near a tall plastic (“faux”) plant, cleaning her nails with a fork. To her credit, she stopped immediately when Leep arrived and introduced himself.

He had given himself plastic (“faux”) courage earlier by imbibing two bottles of chilled Gambrinus Plzen.

“My first husband called me ‘Angel’,” said Eva, then she directed her attention to the menu, which gave Leep the opportunity to examine her face.

The profile photo had given no clue that a cascade of dark freckles romped across her cheeks and nose, and in some places they joined together in a great flock, like migrating birds. Leep was enchanted.

Leep was sure their conversation sounded, to the server who lurked in the shadows, like alien beings trying to communicate, since Eva’s voice was in a high register, and his own was very low. Like a cow communicating with a blue tit. Eva did most of the talking. She’d said she was outgoing, which was convenient for Leep, since he was not.

All he could really think about was the end of the date, when he believed he had a strong chance of ending up in her bed and thus ending a very long drought which spanned from his first sexual experience at age 18 and a half, to the present. He had this opinion because Evangelica had indicated she was “open-minded” and “not old-fashioned” and “experienced”. Debbie told him that meant she was a bit of a slut, until her mother told her to shush. Her mother was right. “Slut” was a harsh word, the wrong word.

Don’t blow it, he told himself, over and over. It wasn’t so much that he was attracted to Eva in particular, despite her freckles, as much as he wanted some solid experience so he would not look like the inept noob that he felt he was at the moment, to a woman he truly did want to please.

During their dinner of warm bowls of borscht and slabs of white bread, she was duly attentive but clearly unimpressed at Leep’s claims that he was both a mill worker and an almost-published author. She talked a lot about her “collections”— her spoons, her vintage magazines, her knit baby clothes, her enamelled pill boxes. “Not Franklin Mint, either,” she assured Leep, who had no idea what Franklin Mint was. She mentioned her first husband frequently, but made no references to the second one. She owned her own house. Would Leep like to see it?

You bet he would. Though he did not say that out loud. He was ready. He’d exfoliated and clipped and snipped and gelled and moisturized and deodorized and did all the things an article the old edition of GQ at the barber shop had recommended.

He followed her car in his, and she parked in front of a green stuccoed-bungalow, squat and square, with light trapped behind thin curtains at the wide front window.

She was a collector, all right. “Pardon the mess,” she said with a giggle as she opened the front door and revealed the start of a passageway— a winding narrow path between columns of boxes, shopping bags, and newspapers stacked to the ceiling. This path led to the kitchen, which was similarly stuffed with boxes, garbage bags, empty plant pots, and one magazine tower that spilled onto the kitchen table. “Ice Fishers’ Digest,” said Eva. “My first husband was a subscriber.”

Leep suddenly noticed there was another human being in the claustrophobic, dimly-lit space. Seated at the formica kitchen table was a teenage girl, in striped flannel pyjamas, eating a bowl of cereal with milk. She didn’t raise her head or say hello— it was the crunching of the Fruit Loops that caught Leep’s attention.

“Oh!” said Eva. “This is my daughter, Paulette. Also from my first husband.” Paulette rose, put her empty bowl in the sink, which was crowded with dirty dishes, cutlery, and two plastic cutting boards, and padded silently out of the room.

“Teenagers,” said Eva with a sigh.

There were more issues of Ice Fisher’s Digest in the bedroom, and Leep noticed one was the recent Summer International Issue. So she continued the subscription? There were other magazines, too. And newspapers that went as far back as the last US presidential inauguration. Amazon.com boxes. Plastic bags full of mystery contents. There were even unopened Franklin Mint boxes— was Evangelica entirely honest with Leep? There was not a square inch of surface unoccupied, save for the path to the bed, the bed itself, and narrower path from the bed to the small, ensuite bathroom.

Their first attempt was about as clumsy and ineffectual and swift as Leep had expected and dreaded, but Evangelica seemed unperturbed. Later on, a second attempt had a more pleasant result, and as Eva cuddled up to Leep’s exfoliated and moisturized torso, she whispered, “I want to have your babies.”

This seemed sudden. Leep remembered he had an early morning appointment and got his clothes on and left, after awkwardly planting a kiss on her forehead as he’d seen Ryan Gosling (or was it John Hamm?) do in a movie.

He navigated through the passageways, noticing a powerful, dominant odour for the first time. Cat litter? Cheese? Buttermilk?

It didn’t matter. Leep got into his car and turned on the ignition. He sighed heavily, but with contentment. Leep had got laid.

Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Prompt: Confess


Wednesday! How are you?

It’s been a busy holiday season, just because of an increasingly slavish devotion to “tradition”. It takes so much time and emotional effort to deal with such a holiday as Christmas, when we are meant to be surrounded by loving family and friends, to have the perfect home and perfect meals, give the perfect gifts, feel unrelentingly warm, happy and content– all amid an uneasy feeling of stress and inadequacy.

So, hope you had a Merry Christmas!

My confession, as an alleged cook and smug turkey roaster, was that I accidentally put curry powder into my sage & onion turkey stuffing, and it was unbelievably awful.

So the first of today’s set of favourite cartoons is tenuously related to the prompt, Confess, and the others just seem to flow from that one…

cartoon lack of integrity


cartoon board meeting


cartoon no trump


No Trump? Aaahhhhh.

~~FP

Itsy Bitsy Spider [Repost]

Prompt: Proclivity

web with rain

Itsy Bitsy Spider: A Bad Fable

Janet was the littlest of all the spiders in the colony. At dinner, she never got the tasty thorax or juicy abdomen of the flies captured in the silver webs– no, not even the compound eye. She scrambled against the other little spiders for bits of antennae, tough foreleg, and wisps of dry, tasteless wings. Her mothers tried to fend off the ravenous older spiders at dinner time, but Janet found herself constantly hungry.

“You’ll have to mate,” mama Goldass told her with a sigh. “To help you build your own nets. What about Armand? He seems nice.”

“Ugh,” Janet said. “He’s so ugly and hairy, and he spits and he always wobbles his spinnerets in public.”

“Some people find that charming,” mama Goldass said. “I hear his silks are strong.”

“I overheard Tippy say they sagged,” Janet said.

Mama Goldass laughed. “And how would Tippy know?” Her abdomen jiggled as she chucked softly.

But Janet knew mama Goldass was right. Without a mate, she would starve. On the night before her mating with Armand, mama Queenbutt took Janet aside to wish her well, and found her in tears. “Don’t worry, little one,” said mama Queenbutt. “Think of all the tasty Cyclorrhaphae you will feast on!”

Mama Goldass had different advice. “Just lay back and think of the downspout,” she said.

And that’s what Janet did. She thought long and hard about the downspout, she thought of its cold, slippery surface, and the way the webs created a bridge to the wall, which was softer and had hundreds of caves to build nests and bear young. She thought about it every day, and wished for than a life different from her life with Armand and his spinnerets and the waterspout, and so blamed herself when the deluge came.

Armand’s silks were strong, the webs held, and though many, including Armand, perished, Janet’s tiny weight carried her on and above the flood; she surfed it like a butterfly and started anew.

Janet bore young in the spring. She mourned Armand as widows do, and found a new mate and had many bountiful harvests. She made her mothers proud.

If Janet the spider were here now, she would say to you, go ahead and settle when life compels you, but don’t give up your dreams. A deluge may happen to sweep your troubles away and show you a path to true happiness.

*Note: This is no way like an Aesop or other helpful fable. This is a bad fable.