Monday, December 30, 2013

Starting 2014 off with a BANG!

One New Year's Eve, I was travelling between parties when we passed a house that a guy stepped out of and began firing his gun into the air repeatedly.  This is called "Celebratory Gunfire."

Seriously.  This guy did that.  How stupid is he that he did that knowing (?) that the bullets have to come down somewhere, and these damage property and kill people.

Please share this in hopes that people will NOT fire guns on New Year's Eve.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

So long, 2013.

Well, this won't be a long post.  But, I've read a post on Facebook from Stan Sakai, a great comic book artist and story-teller whose work has brought many folks happiness for a long time, has a lot to deal with lately.  Loss of his 20-month-old grandson while his wife is also fighting an illness breaks my heart as I see pictures and read updates, and am reminded of something more.

I have seen folks post on Facebook how bad 2013 was and are ready for 2014 (the same ones who posted about 2012 ready for 2013), and I posted before that no matter how bad you might think you have it, there is always someone who is having a worse time in life.  Before thinking that 2013 was all that horrible think about what others have had to go through--even folks you don't know.  Look back at the year's news, look at the kids who've had to deal with grown-up issues, look at those suffering sickness or familial loss, and then reconsider what happened in 2013.

Compared to others, was it so bad?  I'm certain it wasn't.  Consider all the good things, the happy moments, the photos you have from events, the kids in your life, the pets, the sun rises, sunsets, landscapes you've seen with your own eyes, or even the wonder of the green grass growing around you.  The silent voice on the wind saying all is well, and it was because you chose to listen, you chose to find the happy.  That's the difference.

Life is short, a year is short compared to life (in most cases) and how you use that short time you're given is what makes it good or bad.  It is all up to you and how you use it.  So, make it good.

I hope you read this post this far to know that if you are out there and you are reading this, you've been thought of by me, even when I don't know folks I think about them, and whoever and wherever you are I'm sending love, prayers, positive energy hoping you'll do the same for me.

And also, do it for the Sakai family and others who are dealing with similar situations, be proud of the life you've been given in honor of the short life taken from their family because, no matter how bad you think you may have it, it could be far worse. 

In an instant, it can all be gone from you.  Before that instant ever comes along, be thankful for who and what you have.  Especially the 'who,' and let them know it daily.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

We didn't get around to actually printing the Christmas card as we wished,
so here is the unseen back design for the card!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Shopping Spree! Whee!

It's that time of year for better-late-than-never shopping trends.  Like me, for example, who hasn't purchased a darn thing!  Oh, well.  There's still about 10 days or so left.

In the meantime, you can do some great shopping at the following links that'll help you get your shopping taken care of and you'll also get some great items for the people in your world!

Don't forget that the newest release of Muley's Comix and Stories features ALL Muley strips, including a three-page story never before published in color and new strips that haven't been published before.  CLICK HERE to check it out.

Muley's Comix And Stories 1b
Click the image to buy the book.

I'd like to introduce you to Muley's General Store where you can get all kinds of clothes, home goods, and more.  Click the image to visit.
Click the image to visit the store.

Next, please visit the following websites!!

I've been a proud editor of the graphic novel series "Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa" and "Turra: Gun Angel" for many years.  Why?  Because the creator has taken the art to a whole new level of beautiful with painstaking details while applying to the art a story that is seamless, full of action and adventure, and insightful philosophies throughout.  Another reason? Because he actually cares about the story and characters he brings to you.
Click the logo to visit the store.

Not only does he bring you his own creator-owned work, but he is available for commissions as well as art lessons!

If you are a parent with a talented kid, or know a talented kid who you wish to support, consider funding them into this great class:  The Comic Studio.  Operated and taught by Martheus Wade, you or your child will learn everything you need to know in the entire process to creating a comic book!

You can click the image below to visit the tutorials and see a little about what you'll be learning in The Comic Studio.  Be sure to contact Martheus Wade for any commission work or details about The Comic Studio.


You can also buy the Art of Martheus Wade in his new online store: (Click the image)

Are you more into the jewelry kick?  Janet Wade offers up a great line of pretty preciouses that you should consider for your jewelry fan!

You can find a great series of books, cd's, and more at:


But, if action figures and collectibles is the name of the game, there is only one place I can think you need to really check out:  Eric's Secret Stash!  If he doesn't have it, you don't need it.  Or, he can get it for you.  Either way, a great guy and just the one to satisfy your toy needs!

Now, I don't have an image to link you for this one, but Nicholas Scott Hall is one of my favorite photographers and has prints for sale.  You can find some of them by clicking here and checking his work out.

Another great photographer is my friend Angela Freeman, some of her work you can find on her website here:

Snapper Photos
(Logo by your's truly!)


One of my friends, David Stephens, has this really great invention called "Glarf."  It's a puppet scarf that is also gloves!  What a fun way to keep warm!!  I don't have an image to share, but CLICK HERE and you can see some of the Glarfs as well as other products he makes.

I have to save more comics for last because comics are the greatest, so if you want even more great comic goodness then check out Action Lab Comics for a load of different genres, including more Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa!
Action Lab Entertainment

In support of comic book stores, and if you don't have one near you, the ones in Memphis can ship you what titles you need.  Check out Comics and Collectibles and The Comic Cellar.

As I think of more shopping ideas, I'll add it here.  Be sure to check back often because these products and ideas aren't just for the holidays, but you can get great gifts like these all year around for birthdays, anniversaries, and just because!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mascot Gigs vs. Furry Life

True story:
I'm on AOL Messenger back in the old days when AOL was the thing to have and a message pops up on my screen: Are you a furry?


Are you a furry?

I don't guess so.  I mean, I'm moderately hairy??

Ha ha, not what I mean.  Look at this link and you'll see what I mean.  I'll check back with you later.

Okay, so, I clicked on the link that I was provided by whoever was messaging me.  I was so shocked and surprised that I had to call one of my friends over to view the websites that were opening and together we laughed and laughed and laughed at the folks on the websites, even making up jokes that are still funny to us.

So, a few days later, I get another message:  Did you check out the site I sent?

Yes, I did. Are you a furry?

I am.

What is UP with you, dude??  That's just sick.

That was the end of the conversation and I was blocked.

I'm not usually judgemental yet will be in this article.  Perhaps all because of the links this person shared with me on my first introduction to furries/plushies?   Whatever.  If you are a furry or a plushie, you're about to be insulted--rather, the perverted ones. Sorry, but it's my blog and I have my own way of thinking about things and that's why I post on my website: to share my thoughts.  You'll have your own and you're welcome to them. 

It is my opinion that there is a side to the world of the furry or the plushie which is ridiculous.  The definitions, the terminology, the whole thing:  weird.  If you don't know what I'm referring to, you can do your own research into their world and let me know what you think about it if you want to.  However, it was based on that link and some of the stories that I've heard around conventions and otherwise.

"But, Kevin," I've heard said, "you are a furry."
I'm not as fat as this looks, I had padding
around my belly for the costume to fill-out.
Um, no.  I'm no more a furry than someone who dresses in cosplay can fly or someone who draws kids is a pedophile. 

"But, Kevin," I've heard follow-up said, "you have puppets, and a fursuit, and draw animal characters."

I have puppets, a mascot suit, and draw animal characters.  This makes me a puppeteer, a mascot performer, and a cartoonist.  Not a furry or a plushie. 

So, if having a label for yourself fits you, then you do whatever 'suits' you.  Me?  I'll stick to the professional names for what I do: in the MuleyVerse, we have Critters (puppets) (I'm a puppeteer), MuleySuit (mascot) (mascot performance), and comic characters (comic strips and comic art) (I'm a cartoonist).  This is our terminology for what is done with the Mule. 

What's the difference in mascot performance and being a furry?  Well, if you followed the above advice and looked up what a furry is, you see that one part of it is that the people who live by that title are usually people who would prefer that they be an animal as opposed to a human.  A mascot performer is someone who puts on a mascot suit and entertains folks.

But, let's focus on mascot performance:  Outside of the MuleyVerse, I have performed sports mascots, and mascots of famous cereal characters such as Lucky (Lucky Charms), Sonny (the Cocoa Puffs bird), Count Chocula (of Count Chocula cereal if you didn't already know), and so on.  I've been Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, the rooster from Rock-a-doodle, Snoopy, and more.  Most popularly, the MuleySuit has performed at events for the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis at the Big Scoop Ice Cream Festival, Breakfast with Santa, Celebrity Waiter Night, Celebrity Putt Putt, Leather Ball, and more.

When performing a mascot character there are a few things you have to keep in mind:
1) Personality/Character - you need to be able to perform, without words (though sometimes I speak as Muley while in the MuleySuit), a behavior 'suitable' for the character and true to that character's integrity.
2) Movement - it's like a dance.  You have a certain swag to the walk, a way that the character must carry himself to stay in character. Be energetic, happy, bouncy!  This is part of your...
3) Performance - it is your job to entertain the people around you.  You are a mime in a costume, you are funny and make people laugh, you are bringing the "happy" to so many people who are watching you.  It is a big job, just like that head that you fit over your own, but you do it!

4) Little kids - some of them are cool with this larger-than-life thing that is coming their way, most are not.  Some parents are stupid enough to shove a shy kid sitting in the stroller at this creature setting the kid off into a world of phobia!  Be patient to allow the little kids to accept you in THEIR time.  And, if they look like they're about to scream, they probably will.  Walk away and leave them alone.
5) Teens and Adults are turds - some idiot years ago thought it would be funny to punch a guy in a mascot suit.  Why?  What's funny about abusing someone, regardless of their species?  Get over it and stop.  It's not funny, it's abusive to the people in the suit.  Stop hurting them.

And now, because you didn't ask for it, a new documentary series is appearing on Hulu called "Behind the Mask," four different mascot performers in four different venues and leagues telling their story of being behind the mask.  Learn what it takes, the pain suffered, and more.


Only available on Hulu.  CLICK HERE to view episodes.

Now, the contradiction:  Furries and plushies NOT of the perverted fandom you are not the ones this article is about.  I don't hate you.  I don't even dislike you.  I do not loathe you or despise you.  You choose to do what makes you feel good, and I applaud you for it.  I wouldn't take that away from you or anybody else in the world.

When I was a kid, my mom had a t-shirt with an old woman on a motorcycle saying, "If it feels good, do it!"  So, if it feels good, if it feels right, do it.  Be you, be who you are, regardless of the rantings of a fuddy-duddy like me.  You are an individual, a person who is trying to get by the best way you can and if someone out there is like me, you can thumb your nose at the rest of the world and say you're proud to be just who you are.

I may not skritch you, but I will shake your hand.  Shake? Shake.  Good boy.  Now, sit.

End rant.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Those Pesky Oompa Loompas...

You have seen the movies.  You know this to be true...

Some things in the grammar world should be simple to know by now like this:

When you mess up THIS bad, you know they are going to be coming for you...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jane Kean, Star of Honeymooners revival dies at 90

Jane Kean, Star of Honeymooners revival dies at 90.  This leaves only one original 'known' Honeymooner, Joyce Randolph.  We're fast losing the entertainment of the ages...

For now, let's give a little appreciation to a great TV show and those who have gone before.

Everybody knows that one of my favorite shows of all-time is "The Honeymooners."  Jackie Gleason's loud-mouthed Ralph Kramden is your every man.  Sure, he might throw a lot of hot-headed threats out to those closest to him, but on the inside he was a teddy bear. Pert KeltonAudrey Meadows and Sheila MacRae performed his wife, Alice, always there to take care of him, calm him down or steam him up--the wife every man wishes he could have--was an anchor in a storm of nuttiness.  His best friend and neighbor, Ed Norton, performed by the great Art Carney, was great fun in his silliness and side-kick characterizations whose wife, Trixie, another anchor, kept the men afloat in times of trouble, and was mild-mannered with a voice of reason.

Originally played by Elaine Stritch (one time) and Joyce Randolph, Trixie Norton was performed by Jean Kean in the revival of The Honeymooners when the show moved from New York to Miami.  This version of The Honeymooners was a musical television series with song and dance numbers, and IN COLOR!

Accessible for interviews, Jane Kean would tell about her Honeymooners days with proud fervor.

The Honeymooners, as many also know, was responsible for a famous animated series:

 The most popular known cast of The Honeymooners were Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney and Joyce Randolph.

The show spawned comic books, collectibles, and more over the years, including this urbanized version of the television show featuring Cedric the Entertainer.

From my own autograph collection, since we're on the topic of The Honeymooners, I have this convention booklet signed by Audrey Meadows (not personalized) and this 8x10" of Art Carney.  I've also recently written to Joyce Randolph and holding out hope for an autographed photo of her!  Will update here if I get it.

There was a TV special of the really lost episodes of The Honeymooners, including the very first sketch ever.

I also had to draw a picture of the characters in 1990 when I was 18 years old.

November 2012 saw a lot of passings.  Tonight, a sad note that also today I learned that 40-year-old actor Paul Walker died in a car crash. Ironic since his most famous series of films were those of "The Fast and Furious".

"Monkeys is funny..."

That was a line spoken during a Mid-South Cartoonists Association meeting back many years ago by artist Mike Norton and has become a catch-phrase among us who sling ink in Memphis.  We also find that nearly everyone out there, though, loves monkeys because, well, monkeys is funny.  And, being scientifically incorrect, that phrase encompasses apes as well.

Do you know the difference, by the way?  Monkeys have a tail.  Apes do not.

I've been of the opinion that it's because they eat bananas which are said to be a natural antidepressant.  The way they go through that fruit no wonder they are so dang happy.

And then, there are some which are just plain cracked-out on life.  The following video showed up on The Vine with a voice-over that has killed me every time I've watched it. 

And here is the original video.

So, hopefully, you've had a laugh and now know a little something about monkeys and apes.  And as GI Joe used to say: Knowing is half the battle.

Finally, my buddy Brad and I were talking about this great picture of some monkeys on a line and had to add Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" lyrics to the image.  We chose one as best; but, I like them all...

Covered by these monkeys and The Muppets...

and then...

"Hey, gurl, how you durrin'?"



Monday, November 18, 2013

Did Sparky Know?

From 1987, this strip has Charlie Brown mentioning he'll probably kick the football in November 2000.  The strip was cancelled by 2000 and creator Charles Schulz mentioned, "Poor ol' Charlie Brown never even got to kick that football."  Had he continued, might he have?  I doubt it.  Winning isn't funny and, of course, with Charlie Brown's luck, he can't have ever kicked that football and, of course also, the strip ended before he ever found out...

Get your own collection of The Complete Peanuts from Fantagraphics.

Lunch with Monkeys

My office is near the Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, so sometimes I use my membership to get in and go have lunch in the Cat House Cafe.  I usually luck out and get the windows next to the monkeys and that is always fun.  Sometimes, I get to walk around some.  Here are some pictures from the end of October.

This interested me: Halloween while Christmas Decorations go up.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Memphis BBQ - Plain and Simple

I consider myself a bit of a BBQ aficionado.  It's a delicious food from which I can never just leave alone.  So, when folks ask, "What do you like?"  this is what I tell them.


I look for tenderness, juiciness in the meat.  Is it smoked, and does that flavor carry over into the meat products?  When dealing with ribs, how tender is it?  Is it overcooked and dry, or juicy and falls off the bone?  How are the sauces?  What all comes with the meal and is that good?


Wet ribs:  Blues City Café.  I order the full rack of ribs (comes with beans, slaw, Texas toast, and Fries)  You can also click here to hear the music they play there.  Blues City Café is at the corner of Second St. and Beale St.  Ask for extra BBQ sauce to dip your ribs in, and if a  little mixes with your ketchup it enhances your fries.  The meat is so juicy and tender, and it really just falls off the bone!  LOVE this food.  I always say a silent prayer to Chef Bonnie Mack who has gone to cook BBQ in the sky...

I also like the ribs at The BBQ Shop on Madison Ave.

Sandwiches:  The BBQ Shop on Madison Ave. also has one of the greatest sandwiches.  Usually piled high on Texas Toast, or if not served as a sandwich you can get it as a plate with toast on the side.  I enjoy the slaw on my sandwich with beans, and fries.

My other favorite place is Central BBQ.  But, only the one on Central Ave.  It's tiny, and sometimes there's a lengthy, but worth the, wait.  The meat is tender, smoked really well, and nicely flavored.  You get a sandwich on a toasted bun, any number of sides, and then you put on which sauce you prefer and as much as you like!  I just do not like their Summer Ave. location.  There is plenty of space for folks to gather; but, it is just not as good as their original location on Central Ave.

Dry ribs:  The Rendezvous.  Frank Sinatra used to fly in to go there, and there's a reason.  The dry ribs there are delicious!  The service isn't my kind of thing, though: the whole old, angry waiter bit.  It works for tourists; but, I'm in Memphis already--just feed me good food and let me be. Still, this place is good enough for Elwood Blues and Brother Zee Blues to stop in for dinner, and if it's good enough for The Blues Brothers, you KNOW it's good enough for me.

THE BAD  (but still good)

TOPS BBQ:  So, the other day I couldn't stop at a certain TOPS BBQ shop's drive-thru window.  I hated to place an order and then split; but, last time I went the BBQ meat was so dry and HARD (crunchy) that it wasn't even edible.  This time, I see this sign in the window:

Outside a window of one of the TOPS BBQ shops in Memphis.
I figure more than likely because folks try to get something for nothing.
"This is bad, I want my money back; but, I ate it all!"

Not all their locations are bad like the one I mentioned.

I will tell you that when it comes to GOOD fast food BBQ at the following TOPS BBQ locations:  Marion, AR, Fraiser Blvd. and Summer Ave. in Memphis, TN.

They are good, but they are hit-n-miss.  However, if you want probably one of the best burgers of all time, go to TOPS BBQ!  (I'll have to do a burger post one day.)

TOPS ribs from delicious Marion AR location.
Best with a side of Sweet Baby Ray's for added flavor.

Interstate BBQ.  It was pretty much, to me, the same fare as TOPS BBQ but at twice the price.  The owners have somehow gone on to star in Food Channel programming, I think.  Still doesn't make their BBQ the best. 

There was also a competitor family restaurant called Neely's BBQ which is now closed, and, at best, their BBQ was flavored a bit more like the kind you get out of the freezer section in the plastic container at the grocery store to me.  Not good.


Really, there aren't any ugly places.  In Memphis even bad BBQ is good.

Corky's BBQ.  My very least favorite place.  Very bland, not flavorful--more like the TOPS BBQ fare as well.  Same stuff, twice the price.  Very corporate flavored.

Three Little Pigs BBQ.  You know I hate eating places where their logo is the animal that is happy to serve itself to you as food.  I hate that.  Why?  Because, who would be glad to die and be your food?  Other than the rabbit who is happy to feed itself to Aslan in "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe."  Still, the food was, while okay, mediocre and the service wasn't all that grand the two times I've been there.  Not bad; but, really I'll only go if it's a precursor to bowling at Billy Hardwick Lanes (owned by the parents of Chris Hardwick, host of The Talking Dead which discusses The Walking Dead).

Nice.  I talk about BBQ and Zombies...


There are really only a few things I'll go to my first grabs:
Blues City Café Sauce - I can't get enough!  I had a friend in from Australia once who ate there, a few weeks later sent an e-mail fussing he couldn't find anything like it, so I shipped him a bottle!  You have to go to their store to buy it in the bottle.
Sweet Baby Rays - All different kinds and flavors; but, I prefer the original.
Rendezvous Dry Seasoning Rub - this is good when cooking all meats: fried or grilled even!  It's WAY cheaper at the grocer store than on their website!


Are you a shop owner from one of my 'blah' ratings above?  Want to prove me wrong?  Invite me out and show me your best fare.  I'll do an update on my website here and resubmit my discoveries to the world.  Will it be better? Worse? same?  Let's find out together.


I have heard of a few other places that I've never even tried.  Share your favorite locations for BBQ in the comments below and let me know where I'm wrong or where I'm right!  Let me know who I should be bragging on instead.

Another good reference to read can be found by clicking here.

Want to go eat BBQ in Downtown Memphis, but don't want to spend a million dollars to park?  Go to Parking Can Be Fun.  Last time I was there it was $4 to park.