The Portable Radio

This is from Found Magazine. Found has been a favourite of mine (and Aunt Lou's, I believe) for years and years, since they were a real paper magazine. (Are they still?) The idea is, you find something: a letter, a picture, etc. It's anonymous. You have no idea who wrote it or where it really originated. And you send it in. They publish it.

Click to make bigger!

Exhaust(ed): An American Horror Story

I had so much fun making that book preview for A Murder of Crows and Other Woes, I made another one for  Exhaust(ed): The 99% true story of a bus trip gone wrong. For some reason, the pictures from Exhaust(ed) are actually kind of scary! Take a look:

Ludwig Is a Bigwig for an Antentwig

In which Professor There-You-Are, Collector of Stars, goes on a three week mission to Mars, and leaves his great ape in charge. Here is a rough sketch of the *cover:
I'm pretty certain this will be book number two of English is Complicated and Nearly Impossible,
release date unknown. 
An "antentwig" is an archaic way of saying "3 weeks," as I learned from **Mike Pesca. 

*Yes, we are still using the dot matrix computer paper as scratch drawing paper! When will it end? Buying in bulk: it's cheap! You still have stuff when it's obsolete!

**Mike Pesca has a podcast called The Gist, which is funny and informative. He really has a way with words. Every antentwig, he admits to any erronious information he may have unwittingly given out on The Gist. I heard that word, "antentwig," and I fell in love. (With the word. No funny stuff.)

How to Cook a Turkey

By Little Z (age 7):
Click on Picture for Biggering

This was for a contest at our local supermarket. I'm not sure if this is really what they had in mind, but I'm glad she knows where turkeys come from. (They already have the heads and the feet cut off at the supermarket.)

A Murder of Crows and Other Woes Preview

It is 12:01 AM and that means A Murder of Crows and Other Woes, by yours truly, Shoshanah, has just become available.

Here is the book trailer for A Murder of Crows and Other Woes:


Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia was a designer who made a most wondrous chair. The chair was so successful that he could then devote the rest of his life to sound sculptures. The sculptures, when touched, created haunting sounds.

Sometimes my blog here touches on the subject, "What is art?" This is definitely art.

Full vintage documentary here

Process of a Painting

I wanted to do a night scene, so I painted the wood black. 
Then I decided to paint a firefly, because I love fireflies. They make me happy in a quiet sort of way.
So I spray painted the middle. And then I thought about how they always light up as they make their way up
from the ground, so my eyes always see this sort of trail of light underneath them. Which is why I also spray painted
a line going down--- and at this point, I worried that people would think I was painting a nuclear bomb

I printed an actual photo of a firefly to draw from, and attached it to the corner of the wood.
I do this a lot, sometimes to copy exactly, and sometimes just for a guideline. 

I was thinking of the tall grass and how it looks at night. I added some color because this is
my painting and I can add things that aren't really there. Also, at this point, you can see that my
scale is completely off. If a firefly this large appeared in my life, I would assume someone
dropped an LSD tab in my coffee today. Again, though, it's my painting and I don't care. 

Then it needed a cat. I had no intention at all of including a cat, but
the muses insisted. It makes me think of Teresa, our boy cat named after
the comic genius Teresa Burritt (who is female). Teresa prowls the night.
May the Frog Blog rest in peace. Long live the Frog Blog. 

This painting, which looks better (more in focus!) in person will be going to a local show on December 5th. If you happen to be in Wisconsin (or Northern Illinois, like Wheatbread Johnson) on the 5th of December, it's at 4 PM- 8PM at the Old District #1 School House in Mount Horeb.  And you are all invited to come and witness my nimrodic powers (my powers , as they may be... perhaps not as great as Wanda Gág's) in person.

Classifications of Animals

My daughter, Little Z, has decided to start a pet sitting service. However, she is not willing to sit with all pets, just some pets. She has compiled a list of acceptable and non-acceptable animals for her pet sitting service:

This has brought up some issues with people we know, one of whom (cousin Oliver) asks,  "Can you please ask Z where these types of animals would be placed on her list?"  And gives us this link. 

Little Z has this to say:
  • those that belong to the Emperor, "Emperor? What's that?"
  • embalmed ones, "Why would you want those taken care of?"
  • those that are trained, "I would keep those that are trained."
  • suckling pigs, "I'd take those. They're cute."
  • mermaids, "I hate mermaids."
  • fabulous ones, "fabulous what? like fabulous pets? Oh, yeah, I'd do that."
  • stray dogs, "They're stray dogs that live on the street? Why would I want to take care of those? I guess I would."
  • those included in the present classification, "I don't know what that means."
  • those that tremble as if they were mad, "like, I don't get it."
  • innumerable ones, "Yeah."
  • those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, "Yes."
  • others,
  • those that have just broken a flower vase, "Yes. Crazy ones I definitely take. And also neat ones."
  • those that from a long way off look like flies. "Okay?"

Little Z is seven.

With My Nimrodic Powers

The following poem is from Growing Pains, by Wanda Gág:

Oh gee,
How doth the busy bee
Improve the shining hours
By making honey sweet and good
From all the pretty flowers.
Oh my,
How doth this lazy I,
Improve (?) the shining hours
By drawing things
And painting things
With my nimrodic powers.

The book is really her diary, and the drawings she made for the diary are included. It's like reading a blog from one hundred years ago. Wanda Gág was fifteen years old when she wrote about her nimrodic powers. The year was 1909. Thank you, Professor Batty, for the book. It's unbelievably great.

Correction from Professor Batty! This is not Wanda Gág in the photo! 

Breaking news from Professor Batty: Nice post, but that isn't Wanda in your picture! It is one of her classmates at art school. Attached is a self portrait (on a piece of groceery bag) that she did for "Armand" with his notes on the back. I found it in with his letters to Wanda along with his notes on the back. I took a pic of it and cleaned it up a bit in PS. To my knowledge it has never been published, but it is out of copyright, feel free to use it.

Ah, the Horror of the Email Sign Up Drive

My little art business here is weird and messy and stuff and I really need some means of separating things that might be for sale with just my daily musings here... so. 

I got a Mail Chimp account! Yee Haw! And I will use it sparingly. I promise. 

If you should decide to sign up (and I will be duly humbled if you do so) I will email you only if:

1. I have a new piece of art for sale.
2. I'm giving away something for free! Yay! or
3. I am releasing a new book. 

That's it. So, basically, if you do sign up, there is a chance you will have completely forgotten about it by the time you get an actual email, and you'll be like, what the heck is this painting of a paddle boat doing in my in box? Oh, yeah... (I really am working on a painting of a paddle boat right now. It's one of those swan paddle boats, with a bunch of kids in it, but it's in the waves behind these guys in this painting of these old fishermen in a dark storm, catching fish in the most serious of ways... check it out! Totally incongruent and hilarious. Like the Starship Enterprise appearing at random. [Which I sold, incidentally, via email.] Oh, but wait. You have to get the email first... you see what I did there? Kidding. I'll post the picture on the blog. But you should still get the email if you have ever been tempted to buy such a thing with cash money. Or trade it for candles with brazen images of Steve Buschemi. Or something. I also like chickens.)

So, get out your #2 pencil. Here's the sign up sheet: 

Ram & Honey

This is Pontiac. Pontiac is a happy ram. He has six girlfriends, a nice warm wool coat, and all the freeze dried grass he can eat.
And in other news, I have now forgiven the bees.* I wrapped the hives in insulating tar paper today. A few angry guard bees came out to see what I was doing, and immediately dropped dead from the cold. It was snowing.
The rest will now be warmer and hopefully survive the winter. Winter is coming. It feels like it's here.

* I got attacked by a swarm a couple of months ago. 

Blog of the Month: Slimbolala

My favorite blog this month is Slimbolala. I've been following Slimbolala off and on since before I had a blog, I *think*. Slimbolala is a personal blog about day to day life in New Orleans. David Olivier is honest and clever, warm and funny, interesting... it's all there. And, beyond that, like Professor Batty of last month, he is a great photographer. He's also something of a cartoonist. For a while, he would draw whatever you requested. He recently wrote a tribute to his Aunt Annou which was so wonderful and heartwarming, I think I actually cried when I read it. It wasn't the first time he made me cry (and I mean that in the best possible way). As the blog has gone on, long-time readers have seen his children grow from toddlers to full on kids, and now middles schoolers (!) and seen the subtle passage of seasons in New Orleans, the devastation of Katrina, the rebuilding... It's a testimony to his blogging abilities that I had no interest at all in New Orleans until I started reading Slimbolala, and now I am fascinated with New Orleans.

Congratulations, Slimbolala! You're this month's Blog of the Month.

Beer Making Today

Above is the cooling process. That jumble if wires in the countertop is actually a cooling pump that Bad-Assed Husband (BAH) made. He's handy like that.
We got a great deal on this kit for Holiday Ale, because it needs to age for a few months. We'll be drinking our Happy Holiday Ale in April. 


It was a beautiful cold morning.
And an exciting one, too, because a plan that had been in the works for over a year was finally happening: we were having a ram come live with us for a while! 

A ram is not something you can just pick up at Walmart. It's more of what I call, "The Grey Economy." You have to call around, and know a person who knows a person. Luckily, though, we already knew a person who had a Jakob's ram who was not too closely related to ours, but the only catch was that he was just a baby. Which explains why this has been in the works for over a year: he had to grow up!

Up is a relative term. He's a very small ram- a runt, really. But I like runts. I read Charlott's Web. This runt's name is Pontiac (after the potato)*.

He's the handsome devil with the four big horns. I don't think he knows what to make of the turkeys! 

The price in the grey economy to rent a ram? Seven pounds organic chicken meat. What a deal.

And in five months, we might have lambs! 

* I didn't know a Pontiac was a potato. I'm taking their word on that.

"A Murder of Crows and Other Woes" Helps You Avoid Awkward Situations

Are you a child? Have you ever been a child? Do you know any children? Perhaps you saw a child once in a shop, and it piqued your interest? Or maybe you like funny pictures of animals? I have written a book for you! And it is now available for pre-order in its Kindle version. The Kindle version is actually quite nice. I spent a lot of time on it. You can click on phrases in the drawings, and the words pop up nice and BIG! Fancy and stuff.

Reserve your copy today! They're going fast! They're going like hotcakes! Don't delay! We're running out!*

The digital cover is elongated to match their silly format at Amazon. (I love you Amazon! Shout out!) The paper book is square, and is not as yet available for reserving. (I'm working on that. Stop texting me, Gerald. [I love you Gerald! Shout out to long-time reader Gerald!] November 25th, friends, is when the book will be released! November 25th!)
Less than $2 in full color digital format! 30 pages of fun!

Sometimes it's nice to have a kids' book on your Kindle, just in case you find yourself alone in the room with a child, and you sort of start to panic.What do you talk about? "Hey, have you ever read this book? It's about a kid like you who cuts school for two weeks and plays with deadly dangerous animals! Want to read it?"

So now I've done my good deed for the day. I've helped you deal with awkward situations with children. You're welcome.

* Technically, I suppose we will never run out of digital copies to download. But figuratively, you know... okay. I'm just lying about running out. 

Officially a Midwesterner

This is the largest crock pot available. This is my second crock pot. I love it so much.
Welcome to my home, shining white porcelain appliance. Welcome. 

Yep. Midwestern farm wife fabulous!

So Very Wrong

Fun thing to do in your spare time: paint the Starship Enterprise and a red shirt onto a thrift store landscape print.

Fun! This stuff is done better by David Irvine. Still, I enjoy it. Close- ups:
He's Doomed
The print (without Star Trek) was $6. Cheap thrills, I guess. :)

Yes, We Feel The Love


At five AM this morning, I awoke with a shriek. A midget Gollom creature was hovering over me in the dark. It said in a creepy whisper,

"There's something scary in my room." 

It was Little Z.

"Oh! It's you. What is it?"

"I don't know. Just something scary."

We went to her room to investigate what she later would describe as "a one eyed monster." We turned on the lights, and the one eyed monster turned out to be this horror: 
The peacock, actually. Not Bodkay.

I went back to sleep and I dreamed that I lived in a giant mansion with all of my extended family. Grandma Ruth said, "let's go to the attic and look at the Halloween pictures." So, we started walking to the attic. Strangely, to get to the attic, we had to go down. Down, down, down the steps we went, until we got to an open room with a sleeping vampire and some statues. Grandma introduced me to one of the statues,

"This is Satan," she said. 

As soon as she introduced Satan, the statue came to life. Satan started gnashing his teeth and snarling at me, but he was only four inches tall. I immediately took out my iPhone to get a picture of Satan and post it to Facebook. But he wouldn't stand still! Damn you, Satan. Why can't you just cooperate? What's wrong with you?

Suddenly, the vampire woke up. She had red teeth, and came lunging toward the back of my neck, but right before she bit me, she stopped and posed with me for a selfie. She never bit me. It was all about the picture. 

The Dahntahn Song

Pittsburghers (and Irwiners and the like) really do talk like this. I hope yunz like it. Gonna go git me a sammich.

You may recall that I have been to Pittsburgh. I have a lot of family back there.

Going around with visiting relatives from Pittsburgh, some stranger in a shop will invariable say,

"What is that accent?"


Although, it's actually strongest in the weird little places like Saltzburgh, Irwin, or Paintertown. (Random fact: I'm related to nearly every person in Paintertown. Here's a shout out to all yunz folks in Paintertown! Represent! Random Fact #2 about Paintertown: most of the houses in Paintertown need painting. Badly.)

A Band of Jays

This is just a rough draft. I know what you're thinking, though. What kind of band would have a pedal steel player and a harpist? * They're a blues band. And how could they be on the power cords, with all of those instruments? Well, I was going to pose them on the street, but I didn't want promote jaywalking.

A Murder of Crows and Other Woes comes out November 25th.

*Update: this kind:

"Going Green" Special Edition Is Here!

I blogged a few days ago about how one of my favorite artists and one of my favorite writers were collaborating on a special edition of Going Green, the comically believable zombie novella of the future. And now, already, it is available for purchase! I think I bought the first one. First purchase! Is that like "first comment" on Youtube? Why do people do that, by the way? So bizarre.