Monthly Archives: November 2016


This morning when the five o’clock alarm chimed I was mostly awake. My hands, relatively unarthritic before summer began, ached and were stiff. My right index finger did its spring-loaded trick: it unfurls a bit, catches, and then with additional force switchblades into straightness.

I don’t want to be one of those old people who focuses on his infirmities. It will take vigilance: today I do.

mold age

many elders are at sea

oleo or e f g

dimmer mort conturbs at me



“Gary, my hero,” said the wonderful Inez right after she saw my portrait of Gwen,”I want you to do one of me.” Flattery got her everywhere. I did, and this is it.

Inez is good people. She is the salt of the earth. She has seen it all and lived to tell the tale. And she was one of the ones who escorted me from the TSA security checkpoint, outside the Terminal 4 B Gates, to our restaurant, Matt’s Big Breakfast, in those long-ago days before the airport deemed me trustworthy enough to issue me a badge. (I just got my second badge renewal–looks like they haven’t found out what an unsavory character I am yet.)

I am guessing we live fairly close to each other, since we once rode the 32nd Street Southbound bus together early one Sunday morning, and once I was walking out of the same McDonald’s she was driving through. That’s good. She can be my neighbor anytime. She’s a Sweetheart.


This may or may not be the dawning of the age of Aquarius. It is definitely the dawning of the age of hand-held, approximated reality. Most of us in the United States of America now possess a device that is our interface with the Universe. As the middleman, the device imposes an operating system, a navigational device, and various profit-motivated, unasked-for obstacles between us and what we are rubbing this Aladdin’s Lamp to obtain.

My drawing is an approximation of what this is like. It is a CRUDE approximation. It includes at upper right an approximation of a hand-held, almost out of format range a la Breughel. Breughel once depicted “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” by putting a large ship in a large sea in the midground, and a hard-to-see Icarus impacting the sea in front of the ship, with only his legs visible.

I hope we will learn to use this device, and those that follow it, more than the device learns to use us. I am trying to go unplugged more. Figure out how much time you spend staring into that insidious screen, and you may well join me . . .



Inktober is over, but it would be a mistake to get out of inking practice. Thus this trifle, a semi-obvious pun with a little serendipity in that an anatomical drawing and a bit of faked musical notation counterpoint each other harmoniously.

It is good to learn the heart. Like a city, the heart does not make sense without its inlets and outlets. That goes for the metaphorical heart as well. ❤

pass your past 11022016.jpg

In my lonelier moments I nO evoM, which is Move On backwards. I UNmove on. Backtrack. Grind my teeth over how I cannot unturn events, cannot Revert To Saved Version.

I was in such a dysfunctional mode this morning, and so I gave myself the illustrator’s version of a good talking-to. Good PENCILING-to? Sounds painful. –Hey, it was, a little. But it may have done the job.

Here is the acrostic:

pass your past

poetry‘s my s.o.p
andy hopfrog told his flea
schmaltzy, lurid odes engross
some poor bastards NEED a ghost

S.O.P. stands for Standard Operating Procedure. Why a Hopfrog talking to a Flea that belongs to him? Metaphor for a dilettante with a Jiminy Cricket. Why is [told] in brackets? Alternate close words like toed, toad and towed offer different flavors. Who’s the Asian babe and the old guy? The heart of the page, that’s who.


This morning I started the above image, and got stuck and put it aside. I then had lunch at the Senior Center, got a call from my mother asking for help, went with her to Walgreen’s and then Bashas’ and then back to her house to put away the groceries and then to Dignity Health to visit my ailing brother Brian and then back to Mom’s house, where I left her with her neighbor Jeff, who’s been helping her out as well, and then I walked to Yoshi’s (Have A Rice Day) and had their Spicy California Roll, an eggroll, and a medium Dr Pepper. The George and Dragon was a stroll away and I went there to watch the Chicago Cubs tie their World Series with the Cleveland Indians with their thrilling 9-3 victory, and I had vanilla ice cream topped with the coffee liqueur Kahlúa® to celebrate. Shortly after that I left for the bus stop on Indian School Road that would take me home, and it was there that a strange, slow tune blossomed in my head, and I came up with some words for it, and then some more, and discarded some, and continue to this moment, even after I finished the image with a mind to illustrate the song. Here are the words as of this moment:


i’ve searched for you
in time in space
i long to view
your loving face.

i know you’re way
beyond right now
i seem to sway
with you somehow.

some things are felt
before they’re seen
may travel melt
the in between.

may we behold
each other’s gaze
the tale be told
and well amaze.

i’ve searched for you
and we’ll be crowned
with dawn and dew
when we are found.

I just tried singing it, and it is so syrupy sweet it’s embarrassing. It doesn’t matter. It was the catalyst that helped me complete an image, so I’m grateful for the song.