Doodle Penance: "lunette funkadelic"

This week's "Doodle Penance" search term is "lunette funkadelic."

I don't know about you, but that makes me think of an unholy, ill-considered mashup of (a.) a certain anime heroine and (b.) a certain awesome organization dedicated to the creation, circulation, and demonstration of p-funk.

I hate it when Doodle Penance makes me draw manga style.

Why? Why do I taint my beloved funk with that Amethyst-Princess-of-Gemworld-wannabe schoolgirl pop junk?

What is wrong with me? I'm like the Bwana Beast of cultural detritus or something.

It's The Little Things

I think this is the longest I have gone between blog posts. Ugh! This week being back at work has just run me ragged, and time has gotten away from me.

Not much that's new to share with you this morning, but today I did receive a slide show of pictures from the professional photographer, Crissie Traugott, who graciously volunteered to come out and shoot Isaac's Golf Tournament. As I started watching, I was not only captivated by her talent, the beauty of the pictures, and God's abundant provision for the day, but was also so stuck by the song that she selected to play in the background.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may know that the song Wonderful, Merciful Savior holds a really special place in my heart... particularly the version sung by Selah. It's a song I played for Isaac on countless mornings when I wrote my letters to him, and it's a song that we had included as part of his memorial service.

I am sure that many of you reading are also familiar with Angie Smith, whose husband Todd Smith, sings in Selah. Like Spencer and I, they two were given a fatal prognosis for their child, decided to carry her to term, and then had to say goodbye to her far too soon. Angie and I have connected through e-mail, and she has been such a support to me on this journey.

I am just so struck sometimes by the little things... the little details that God so carefully orchestrates. To some they may seem unimportant; but over the last year, I have come to discover God's attention to detail in a fresh way.

So without having you wait any longer, here's the link to the slide show of tournament day pictures set to a beautiful song... enjoy.

Costco book signing

Well, today was my first of what I hope will become many book signings at Costco. My distributor set this up for me down at the Sandy store. I signed from noon to 6 and sold 51 copies. It was a lot of work. I am used to having people walk into my booth at a festival and walk out carrying something they like. Selling books is not such an easy sell. I had several people tell me they would look for my book at the library. I've always been a book buyer, eventhough I do have a library card that I use frequently. There is something about a book, the way it smells, the way it feels in your hand. I buy books because I often take a while to read them. I buy books because I like to revisit them. I buy books because they look good on my shelf. I buy books because I like to mark them up and reference them later. But, I guess some people don't like to buy books. For those that do and especially those that have bought one of mine, thanks. You have made it possible for me to continue to write books, even if you do share the book you bought with all your friends and neighbors. Thanks.
While at Costco today, I saw the Stephanee Meyer collection. Maybe if I ever sell a million books, I'll do the collection set too. Seems like a good way to sell four books at a time.
So, I guess what I wanted to say is that I am realizing that today was not a book signing like you see on tv where people are ligned up to get your autograph. I didnt really expect that, and that's a good thing because it was not that at all. For starters, no one has heard of my book. I have sold 1000 copies and maybe as many as 2000 people in the world have read it, but you have to start somewhere near the bottom. I am revising my pitch. Today I said a lot of really stupid things, but someday in the next ten years, I hope to figure this out. I feel like I am starting from scratch with this business. People have loved my pots for years and frankly, that has probably made me a little lazy, as they sell themselves. Not so with books. I didnt have to tackle anyone and hogtie them to listen to my pitch, at least not yet, but I am trying to figure out how sell my book. Without action, vampires and sex, my book may not appeal to everyone, but I believe the book has a broad appeal and the folks that are reading it seem to agree, at least the ones that are related to me.
So, I should be on a date with my wife, but we are both exhausted. She is reading volume two next to me on her laptap while I write this blog. Really romantic, eh. I'll do better next week. If you're reading this on Friday, drop by costco tomorrow for lunch and book.

My new life

For those of you who either know me in real life or know of me online and are kept awake some nights with a vague, nagging concern for my fate, let me tell you what I'm up to, so that I won't have to repeat this story dozens more times in person until it's utterly lifeless:

1. I have quit my job. Today is my last day as a Visitation Supervisor. My new job title? Guy Who Writes Stuff. (It's going to be a few years before I can stomach telling people I am "a writer".)

2. I am getting my first major Writer's Paycheck next week, which explains Item 1, above.

3. I am selling most of my possessions and moving to Bellingham, to live the hobo life in a dirty old house with a bunch of young college kids. This is how I will make Writer's Paycheck #1 last long enough to bring me to Writer's Paycheck #2

4. This is going to be awesome.

To my Seattle friends, I must say I love you all, some more than others, and I will return. This Bellingham thing is more of an extended vacation than an actual MOVE, a chance to finally experience The College Years I was deprived of as an uneducated churchgoin' smalltown farmhand. (Yes, I am a Farmhand. I used to buck bales and ride hawses with Sam Elliot and the Marlboro Man.) Although in this case it will be more like the College Month, as I plan to move out the moment I get the above-mentioned Writer's Paycheck #2 and become a veritable THOUSANDAIRE.

Move to where? Everywhere and nowhere....A MOTORHOME! A BADASS 70'S GMC MOTORHOMEMOTHERFUCKER!

But more on that later.

For now, farewell Seattle! And Bellingham? Prepare yourself for for an older-than-median-age independently wealthy unemployed tall guy coming to crash your parties and drink your PBRs. Also, New York? Prepare yourself for another guy maybe publishing a book. And also also, Hollywood? Prepare yourself for an uncomfortable guy way out of his element. And Chiropractor? Prepare yourself for a guy who damn near broke his back nudging a little end-table. And yet life is good, despite all the handicaps.

Pattern Recognition #3 -- Pop Semi-Covers

This summer a big thing on Top 40 radio was what I can only describe as a "semi-cover" song--in which the artist doesn't actually cover the original song, or even sample it, they just lift the original's entire hook and reappropriate it into their own song--as the entire hook.

This is genius. Writing a dull, meandering verse is easy, but writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus is hard. And writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus that is a decade or two old and has already stood the test of time and embedded itself into the collective consciousness? That's damn near impossible!

This could be booming business, when you consider how many popular hit songs other artists have come up with over the decades! Just scan through the list of past Billboard #1 singles, cut out the chorus, and insert it in between a few verses you've written in the same key, and you've got a road-tested hit, with BONUS NOSTALGIA VALUE!

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's 3 examples from this summer:

Flo'Rida -- "Sugar" (chorus is the chorus of Eiffel 65's "Blue")

Flo'Rida -- "Right Round" (chorus is the chorus of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Around")

Khristina Debarge -- "Goodbye" (chorus is the chorus of Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye")

I feel like there were 1 or 2 more than that as well....anyone recall?

Wow, its been a crazy week. I finished writing volume 2 at 12:30 am yesterday morning. I will be editing this week and next and then passing it on to my editor for her review. I am very excited. If you like volume one, I really think you're going to love volume two. It is exciting and very unpredictable. I wont spoil it for you. The process of creating a book, especially one as visually complicated at mine requires a lot of time. I am not anticipating that I will see a completed version of volume 2, Discovering Isaac, until mid-November.

On Friday and Saturday of this week, I will be signing books at the Sandy, Utah Costco, located at 11100 South, just off I-15. I will be there from 12-5 each day, unless I run out of books. I am excited that things are rolling forward; sometimes slowere than I hoped, but forward motion is always inspring. I have put together an assortment of cards to give away. These are old photos Jake and Amy recently stumbled upon in the archives at the Niederbipp Public Library. Apparently the Niederbipp Travel Council once planned to use these to help promote Niederbipp, but the plans fell through. As is reported in the next Volume 2, Jake and Amy become involved with the council to try and breath some new life into it. Look soon for the Niederbipp website. For the time being, enjoy the postcards from Niederbipp. Cheers.

Another car for Stephen

I always like it when people give me feedback on my blog, so whenever anyones mentions that they enjoy something i try to do more of it. In efforts to get more people checking out my site regularly. So thanks for stopping by stephen and leaving feedback, here's a taxi!

Walt Kelly's illustrations for The Glob

It's August 25th, the birthday of Walt Kelly, which means that for me it's practically a saint's day. My devotion to Kelly's Pogo is fairly well documented here already; so it's exciting for me to post about some great Kelly drawings that weren't created for Pogo but rather served as illustrations for a prose allegory of human development, John O'Reilly's 1952 story The Glob.

I first heard of The Glob at the tender age of nine, when my grandmother gave me a copy of The Best of Pogo, a round-up of Kelly work and articles from a Pogo fanzine. The Best of Pogo reprinted a single illustration from The Glob, enough to whet my appetite for more, and I kept a weather eye out for The Glob for years without ever spotting any telltale signs of it. Until this summer, the closest I got to The Glob was a few years ago at a used bookstore in Brattleboro, Vermont, where I routinely asked the proprietors if they had any Kellyana for sale. Turns out they had just sold a copy of The Glob—their only copy. I was out of luck again.

But then it turned out I was just in the wrong town in Vermont. When I joined Isaac at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction this past June, the first thing I asked for at the Schulz Library was The Glob—and lo and behold, it was in my hands five minutes later. I couldn't take the library copy away, of course, but I was able to snap a few photographs of the gorgeous Kelly illustrations of dinosaurs, saber-toothed cats, and primitive humanity. See for yourself below, and enjoy this votive offering of sorts in memory of my favorite cartoonist, born August 25, 1913, died October 18, 1973.


Dinosaur close-up:

Saber-toothed cat:

Primitive humanity in the guise of the Glob hisself:

And here are the gorgeous endpapers,
a great big scene of animals and people at play:

—and note the bottom right corner, with its echo of awesome old folklore:

Doodle Penance: "8 scenes comics using pronouns"

This week's "Doodle Penance" is going to be unusual, because it's also sort of a trivia contest for you, our devoted (or casual) reader. The term that inspired this comes from someone who was searching for "8 scenes comics using pronouns."

Below you will find eight panels that feature ambiguous pronoun reference, or unclear antecedent.

I leave it to you, Dear Reader, to identify the things to which the pronouns in the following panels refer. (Mike and I have redrawn the panels, or else it wouldn't be a Doodle Penance, and at least one of the panels has been edited to remove the referent.)

For each item in this quiz, the correct answer will be "D: None of the above." Your task is to ferret out and state the actual, specific answer. You can put your answers in the comments section, or you can email your replies to isaac dot cates at aya dot yale dot edu, if you're worried about giving a good answer away.

The person with the most correct answers by the end of the week, or the first person to get all eight, will win a prize from the Satisfactory Comics back-issue archives.

UPDATE! A winner has been chosen! Stay tuned for an answer key!

Here are the questions:


A. Spiro Agnew.
B. Alfred E. Newman.
C. The artist who put my eyebrows on the horizon line.
D. None of the above.


A. Having my horns tickled.
B. Awesome old folklore.
C. Ron Perlman's singing voice.
D. None of the above.


A. Passing my Classics final.
B. Setting all forty-eight VCRs.
C. Applying antiperspirant.
D. None of the above.


A. My pet anole.
B. My new composition for panflute and timpani.
C. My hairstyle.
D. None of the above.


A. A copy of Playboy from the '70s.
B. The Special Edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
C. A big bag of Cheetos.
D. None of the above.


A. The collapse of Lehman Brothers.
B. The skyrocketing cost of ink.
C. The rise of furrydom.
D. None of the above.


A. The hatching of a tyrannosaur egg.
B. The blooming of a hybrid tulip.
C. The reconciliation of Alan Moore and Paul Levitz.
D. None of the above.


A. The publication of The Collected Pogo.
B. The creation of heart-friendly Krispy Kremes.
C. The musical adaptation of the film adaptation of the graphic-novel adaptation of a postmodern mystery novella.
D. None of the above.

Things that go

Slow posting sorry!

I know i know, the posts have been few and far between! I lost my internet service, but ive been drawing everyday so stay tuned for more updates.

76 Trombones

Westcoast Chuck posted this on his face book and it gave me great joy to watch. Click here and I guarantee it will make you smile.

Golf Tournament Recap

I had every intention of getting this post up yesterday... but truthfully, I was just exhausted.

The 1st Annual Isaac Timothy Delisle Memorial Golf Tournament was awesome! 104 golfers came out to play, despite crazy thunderstorms causing an hour delay in getting started, and coming back at the end of the round. Golfers were wonderful about hanging out in the clubhouse during the time we were delayed, and truthfully, once they got back out on the course, it was beautiful. Until the storms came back, that is! Everyone was in great spirits when they returned after their round to join us for dinner, and that part of the evening went great as well. We had an amazing group of volunteers doing everything from helping get people signed in, greeting golfers at holes, driving snack carts, setting up centerpieces, and taking pictures. God provided so abundantly for this day.

And while the golf shirts and towels we had ordered looked awesome, everything was organized from a logistical standpoint, and over $6,000 was raised for the perinatal loss unit at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, I don't believe those are the things that made the day great.

The day was great because Isaac was remembered, God was glorified, and hearts were touched.

Below are several pictures from the day... I hope you enjoy them!


Golfers getting ready...

And they're off!!

Out on the course...

Program highlights...

Check presentation to Shady Grove (my awesome nurse, Kathy!)

Prayers for Tomorrow

Twenty-four hours from now, golfers will be finishing up their round and heading inside for a good meal and to hear the story of a sweet 4lb 12 oz strawberry blonde-haired little boy who has changed thousands of lives. As I was thinking today about Isaac and his life and legacy, I just find it so fascinating that God would use such a sweet little person to touch the hearts of many... a little person who never spoke a word, or even ushered a breath... but whose life is a testimony to the goodness of the heart of God. Because while redemption didn't come on this side of heaven like we so hoped and prayed that it would, redemption has come... and Isaac is fully redeemed. That is the message of hope that we desire to share with the 104 golfers and 30 dinner guests who will be joining us tomorrow.

A few specific things we could use prayer for...

1- the WEATHER! I'll be honest... the forecast is just lousy. Please pray that the rain would hold off.

2- For my and Spencer's hearts as the event unfolds... I know it will be a bittersweet thing.

3- For Spencer as he prepares to speak before this crowd of people who will be there.

4- For God to soften and move in the hearts of the men and women who are gathered... that He would cause them to think seriously about the question of eternity, the sanctity of life, and who God desires to be in each of their lives.

5- For God to be honored, and Isaac to be lovingly remembered.

Thank you for praying... I will be sure to post photos afterwards!!

Mark Burrier's Rare Words

The cartoonist and illustrator Mark Burrier is doing something over on his website that's faintly similar to Doodle Penance.

(I don't at all intend to suggest that he's even heard of our project; I just mean to note the similar sort of web-fueled drawing, and to point you in his direction if you haven't seen his site. I've never met Mark, really, though I've taken a few postcards from him at MoCCA over the years. I like his comics.)

Anyway, he's got a place in his sidebar where visitors to Rare Words can input a word or phrase. He then illustrates those phrases, in the order they're submitted.

This, for example, is "Devil Donkey." For some reason that's the first thing that came into my head when I visited his site a couple of weeks ago.

Go check out his site, and make sure you probe around long enough to see "Finding Life," "Comely," and "Believe in Love," which are a few of my favorites from his project.

Which of his pieces do you like the best?