Cartooning in Columbus (Ohio)

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courtesy of Watch Tom Draw

Last week my friend Tom of Watch Tom Draw had a chance to visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum during his trip to Columbus. Named for the city’s most famous newspaper cartoonist, it houses one of many cartoon archives in the US and housed right on the campus of Ohio State University. Among the original works archived includes panels by R.F. Outcault (Buster Brown) Windsor McKay (Little Nemo in Slumberland) and Will Eisner (The Spirit) among many other gems.

If you ever find yourself near the Ohio State area and looking for something to see, I wouldn’t overlook it.

Link:
http://cartoons.osu.edu/

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What do Bermuda, Garfield and Malcolm X have in Common?

It’s funny how you recall one thing which leads to something that would seem completely unrelated if not for interlinking circumstances. In the summer of 1997, I was in Bermuda with my mother and grandmother the week international news outlets reported the death of Betty Shabazz by injuries inflicted by her grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, who himself later passed away in 2013. We received Hamilton’s local paper, which I at the time naturally turned to the comics section. It ran Tumbleweeds, the comic I had also learned that year cartoonist Jim Davis helped work on before he created Garfield. I don’t think I’ll ever think about Garfield or Bermuda without immediately recalling the Shabazz family.

Skydeck Follies (Part Two)

     When I arrived to the top of Sears Tower Skydeck, an elementary school class was in the middle of their field trip. I can surely say children are fearless when it comes to dangerous situations.Their excitement with the surroundings had them literally running in all directions, even mowing down someone’s toddling baby in the process. Even the adults had to watch for any children running up behind them. I had to wait a while until the glass casings where cleared of children. When I finally had a chance to step out on the glass casing I began to look down. 
     Maybe is was too many viewings of “Engineering Disasters” on the History Channel. Or that teenage girl who stomped on the glass casing earlier as a joke ( yeah, real funny). Or perhaps I’m just at that age where your amigdala finally matures and tells you what can get you killed. All I know is, I wasn’t convinced all that thick plexiglass and steel bolting could hold my weight (even with my backpack removed.) This survival instinct didn’t keep me from doing what I initially wanted to do, so here’s the pic:
A better compromise

     Now remember that old science fact from middle school that heat rises? well, it reminds you with a vengeance. I don’t know how the photographer and gift shop workers put up with it. The only reason anyone wants to return below is the cooler temperatures. I think it’s the greenhouse effect that the sun and windows have on the place, considering that according to the tour video, the atmosphere at that height is much colder than at ground level. Anyway, once I began to sweat, I knew it was time to go.

Hidden Pleasures of B&Bs

House of Two Urns, Chicago
     I never thought about the profound distinction of  Bed & Breakfasts from hotels/inns until I stayed in one for the first time. When given the chance, the first thing a person wants to do after a long trip is sleep. Whenever I’m in a hotel, I question the purpose of the “Do Not disturb” door hangers they give you. I swear some housekeepers ignore them and barge in anyway. If not, they’ll still wake you up with a loud rap on the door and the familiar call “Housekeeping!” If the housekeepers’ runs are limited to certain days of the week,  you’re obligated to leave your room. Otherwise you’ll never get any fresh towels or clean drinking glasses for two days.  The Bed and breakfast provides you with enough toiletries to last you until their housekeeping day. 
     If you’re staying for a week or longer, you need a place that feels like a temporary apartment. Hotels beyond three days can get really expensive, and God forbid if it doesn’t have a mini fridge. 
     Sometimes you just need a place to stay, and the rest is under your control. That what is good about bed and breakfasts: they respect that mentality. 

SkyDeck Follies (Part One)

My writing residency in Wicker Park is officially at its end and I needed to kill 3 hours before I go on my train out of chicago, which I did by catching up on an old self-promise: visiting the top of the Sears Willis Tower. My first trip to chicago with my mother was just a little too close after September 11, so mother was dead set against me going to the top of any high rise. 
Best view , 2001

However, this was 2011 now and Mom was not longer there to stop me.
     I should point out, that the sears tower was not my first visit to the top of a high-rise. Some time in 05, I did join the ranks of the empire state building, so I noticed a similar routine when other tourists and I had to journey to the top. The first stage involves rounding us up like cattle. The employees ask how many are in each respective group, in order to determine where to cut off the line. You find yourself waiting for a while because only so may people can fit in their cargo-sized elevator. Once you get onto the first elevator (yes, the first),  it flies up so many floors ( from 3 to 99) you feel like you’re on the world’s cheapest amusement park ride. Have chewing gum on you. Once your off that, your roped in again like groupies as you watch the elevator let off the next set of exiting visitors before your group can board.  By the time you’re wondering how many more elevators you have to take, an employee is there to welcome you to the top. 
     More times that not, the view is similar to what the “traffic cam” on your local news sees, but through your own eyes. It was the early afternoon, so the skyline had an orange tinge to it. 
Leave it to my 11 year old camera to filter it blue.
     Because the sun was on it’s way to setting, the clearest part of the skyline was overlooking the lake shore. As an east coaster, I was so used to the vastness of the ocean, so I found it hard to grasp the concept of any lake as “great”. When seeing lake Michigan out on the east side of the building, and no end to the coastlines at either direction, I began to understand what gave these lakes their collective name.