Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Banjo 'toons

It was quite a year.

Now it's another year.  

Consider yourself lucky to experience new years.  Get as many of them under your belt as possible.  Add them together.  Eventually they will create your lifetime.

Banjo Toon 17 - Bizarro - if you keep picking that thing

I'm posting now just to announce that Mixed Meters is still here at the beginning of 2022.  (Imagine a short flourish of banjo sound now.)  It's been almost a year since I added anything new.  Quite a year.

Banjo Toon 01 - At least we know the motive

One of the advantages of collecting a lot of years is that you can remember and compare them.  If you want.  Years are big, big enough that you can both celebrate and regret them at the same time.   

Banjo Toon 03 - Gary Larson - In the kitchen with Dinah

I'm thinking of one particular year long ago: the very first year of MM.   I posted an average 3.7 times per week; 31 times in December 2005 alone (that's daily!)   I spent a lot of time on this blog.

Banjo Toon 04 - Gary Larson - Stop What's that sound

Skipping closer to the present, in the most recent four years I posted on average once every six months.
Banjo Toon 05 - Do you want to play the banjo - no thanks

Back in those early years I was always on the lookout for good blog post ideas.  I would save online pictures if I thought that I could later turn them into something bloggable. 

Banjo Toon 02 - Banjo Mute from J. Henry & Co.

When I needed to create a new post I would scroll through my saved pictures looking for inspiration.  Finding a handful of related pictures might turn out to be enough to suggest a topic.

Banjo Toon 15 - Gary Larson - Your room is right here maestro

Many of those pictures I saved were pictures of tubas.  

Banjo Toon 19 - Bizarro - I cant stand banjos

For example,  pictures of tubas transformed into art, or, maybe, into plumbing.  Pictures of people doing strange things with their tuba.  Cartoons about tubas.  Lots of cartoons.

Banjo Toon 13 - Bizarro - Joshua's sideman

Mixed Meters has no less than three posts devoted to tubas, tubas and more tubas.   Google helpfully collects all Mixed Meters Tuba Pictures.

Banjo Toon 09 - Matthew Diffee - And now a request from the audience

While tubas have basked in Mixed Meters' glow over the years, banjos have been ignored.  I don't exactly know why.  I enjoy banjo music as much as I enjoy tuba music.  Maybe more.
Banjo Toon 08 - Matthew Diffee - Chastity Belt
Anyway, a long time ago I started collecting pictures of banjos for a future blog post, the one you are reading now.  Seeing this recent cartoon by Will McPhail of the New Yorker was the push that got me to dig them out and look for more.

Banjo Toon 10 - Will McPhail - Lobster Plays Banjo

Surprisingly, banjos seem to inspire cartoonists even more than tubas do.  Bizarro and The Far Side lead the pack.  Matthew Diffee of the New Yorker has done quite a few.   

Banjo Toon 07 - Matthew Diffee - I'm Trapped in an Elevator - wait it gets worse

If you hover your mousing unit over the cartoons you should see the title text which includes the cartoonist or strip name if I know it.  My apologies to those artists whose work I couldn't identify.  

Banjo Toon 06 - Carolita Johnson - That's it - the cat has to go

Also, click on pictures to make them bigger.

Banjo Toon 16 - Bizarro - entertain kids or practice banjo

"Ahem," I hear some of you say, "these 'toons are not particularly complimentary to the banjo."   You're right, some are downright insulting.  I guess it's still socially permissible these days to write humor by making fun of banjo players or suggesting ways to use a banjo violently.

Banjo Toon 12 - Gary Larson - Little Banjo Boy

Apparently banjos have a bad reputation.  If you haven't had enough banjo humor, there's this list of nearly 300 Banjo Jokes.  (To be fair, many of these have been/can be re-purposed from other instrument jokes.)  (To be unfair, many are the same joke with infinitesimal variations.)

Banjo Toon 14 - Bizarro - Banjo enforcement

Another instrument with a bad reputation is the accordion.  The next 'toon, the tied-up wife pleading with the burglar to "take the banjo", has been altered by person or persons unknown.  It originally said "take the accordion" and showed an accordion case instead of a banjo.  

Banjo Toon 06 - Quick take the banjo
And now, for my grand finale, here are two cartoons pairing a banjo with a tuba.

Banjo Toon 11 - Argyle Sweater - tuba and banjo - beautiful music together

Just can't get away from those tubas.

Banjo Toon 20 - Far Side - mob attacks tuba/banjo duet

Friday, January 22, 2021

Spackle and the Screensaver

On YouTube, I posted yet another video, shot in 2010, showing Spackle Puss, our late pussy cat.  Watch as she sits in front of my computer, mostly looking into the camera.   Meanwhile the screensaver shows random photos behind her.  

Spackle knew how to do 'cute'.  She was very cute.  The video, however, is really about the screensaver shots.

Spackle and the Screensaver by David Ocker - © 2021 (119 seconds)

I also found a few more pictures of little Spackle, taken in the last few months of her life.
Spackle Puss (the cat) 37 in the sink

And I've got one final little kitty story.  

I've mentioned that she begged for food anytime someone entered the kitchen, meowing loudly and running at top speed around and around the kitchen island.  I can remember several times when, beside herself with excitement, she actually ran under my foot while I was taking a step.  Diminutive Spackle and big dog Chowderhead, who were never close friends, would stand right next to one another looking up expectantly, both waiting for a morsel of whatever human food was being prepared. 

Spackle Puss (the cat) 38 on the couch

Spackle also developed the habit of waiting by the front door when someone was there.  Sometimes she'd go there because a car pulled into the driveway.  Then she'd wait, meowing away.   This is behavior you might expect from a dog, not a cat.  (Chowderhead no longer does this because these days he doesn't hear so well.)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 39 with her mirror reflection

Anyway, one evening - while we sat around after dinner observing this behavior - our houseguest, Marcello, described Spackle as "the cat with the soul of a dog".  This richly deserved sobriquet stuck for the rest of her life.  

We bid farewell to the Cat with the Soul of a Dog.  Daily life has been much quieter without her.

The previous Spackle Puss obituary - with lots of pictures - can be seen here.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Spackle Puss (2006-2020)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 01 (2006)

Our beloved, unique, demanding little kitty Spackle Puss passed away in her sleep Sunday night.  Leslie and I are saddened at this loss.  Spackle has been a daily part of our lives for over 14 years.  We've begun to notice many small emptinesses caused by her absence - most especially at dinner time.  She was a tiny cat yet always first in line (and very hungry and very vocal about it!) whenever food was being prepared.  

Spackle Puss (the cat) 03 (2006)

Click on pictures for enlargements.  Hold your mouse over them for a very brief description plus the year the photo was taken.

Spackle Puss (the cat) 05 (2006)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 08 (2006)

Of course Spackle has been part of Mixed Meters' essential ongoing coverage of our pets.  In 14+ years I've taken lots of pictures of Spackle.   This post shows mostly previously unposted pics.  If you have plenty of time to kill you can review all previoius MM posts tagged "Cats".  Here's a Google search for previous pictures of Spackle

Spackle Puss (the cat) 22 (sunlight 2013)
Spackle Puss (the cat) 24 (2017)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 30 (on floor 2019)

Spackle Puss never spent a day of her life separated from her twin brother, Crackle Pop.  They were inseparable at first although their relationship became less cordial as they aged.  We chose them from a litter of five.  Here's the introductory blog post about their arrival.   

Some pictures of Spackle and Crackle together:   

Spackle Puss (the cat) 02 (Leslie holds very young Spackle (L) and Crackle (R) by the nape of the neck August 2006)

Spackle Puss (the cat) (top) 10 (with Crackle bottom) (2006)

Their markings were so similar that they were often hard to tell apart.  She was smaller, softer and had no tabby markings.  And she had several unique habits including the desire to lick human skin - often quite painfully for the human.  Also she drooled a lot - sometimes leaving an annoyingly large wet patch on your clothing.  Despite that, she was a cute kitty.

Spackle Puss (the cat) (facing camera) 11 (with Crackle 2006)

Spackle Puss (the cat) (foreground) 14 (with Crackle 2008)

Spackle's most unique marking was the light colored stripes behind her ears, along the edges.  The name 'Spackle' was suggested by one of the ladies in the cat rescue group who had said the ear coloration reminded her of actual spackle.  We never understood exactly why.  Spackle just seemed like a good name for a cat and it inspired her brother's name.  We added the "Puss" to make her full name "Spackle Puss" because both Leslie and I like to name things.

Here are some pics that show her ear stripes:

Spackle Puss (the cat) 17 (on staircase ears 2010)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 20 (rear view 2012)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 21 (on staircase ears 2013)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 27 (in a box ears 2018)

Yes, that last picture shows Spackle in a box.  How very catlike.  Here are plenty more pictures of Spackle hunkered down inside of things: 

Spackle Puss (the cat) 29 (in a box 2019)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 26 (in Bag 2018)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 15 (on a scratching box 2008)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 18 (in a bag on a bed 2012)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 31 (in a box 2019)

Here is a very short video (with music) of Spackle Puss in (and out of) a box:

Spackle, in a box by David Ocker - © 2020 (42 seconds)

Here is Spackle wearing a musical vest.  Clearly, she's not too happy about the music.
Spackle Puss (the cat) 06 (in vest)

Here is another of Spackle in a box.  This picture shows artwork by our friend Albert Marsh.
Spackle Puss (the cat) 28 (in a box 2019)

Here is Spackle after indulging in some cat drugs.

Spackle Puss (the cat) 19 (with catnip 2012)

I found a number of pictures showing her with computers.  I guess Spackle felt that humans needed help in their work. 

Spackle Puss (the cat) 16 (between 2 laptops 2009)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 12 (at computer 2007)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 13 (with music - a score by Christopher Rouse, I think - 2008)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 34 (with computer & microscope 2020)

Here's one of my first YouTube videos.  It shows Spackle Puss hunting a hummingbird on my computer monitor.  (All our cats are indoor only.  Spackle never spent even one moment of her life outside hunting real birds.)

Re: Birds Who Don't Know The Words by David Ocker - © 2007 (151 seconds)  (No music in this video.)

And now . . . another Mixed Meters Meta Moment: a picture of Spackle watching the video of herself hunting a video of a hummingbird.  

Spackle Puss (the cat) 36 (Watching Herself Watching a Hummingbird 2007)

Here are three shots of Spackle with Leslie.  In the first one, Spackle seems to be checking Leslie's worm IDs.  Leslie started referring to Spackle as her 'supervisor'.

Spackle Puss (the cat) 33 (Supervising Leslie's work 2020)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 32 (sleeping with Leslie 2019)

Spackle Puss (the cat) 07 (being held by Leslie 2006)

Finally, here's Spackle's last picture, about a month ago.  Spackle had decided she was comfortable sleeping on top of a shelf of ring binders.  She could watch Leslie at work from this spot.  By this point she was all skin and bones and it was clear that she didn't have much time left.  

Spackle Puss (the cat) 35 (on binders - last picture 2020)

Leslie and I are so sorry to see you go, little kitty.  I hope you enjoyed your stay with us, whatever that means for a cat.   We enjoyed having you around.

Rest in Peace, Spackle Puss.