Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

wichita lineman

A few months ago, in the dead zone of Newmanpicturesblog, Minh Le, or rather, Roscoe P. Hargrove, over at Bottom Shelf Books posted a hilarious and weirdly insightful critical analysis of Hippo! No, Rhino that is one of the coolest souvenirs I've collected (insofar as one can collect a piece of the Internet) from my short children's book career. I emailed Minh to let him know how much I liked it, and that led to an interview that we just finished up last week, in which we talk about all sorts of things, including the song I want played at my funeral. It might be Wichita Lineman. And then again, it might not. I'll post a link once it's up.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

i love your (my) blog

Since my writing skills have admittedly worsened in the last four months, I find it difficult to put into words my thanks to Matt Cordell for tagging me with this "I love your blog" award. And I mean it. I really can't remember which words to use, or how to string them together, grammatically. If anyone can help me construct a note of appreciation, you'll be rewarded with a letter from me, written by you, expressing my heartfelt gratitude.

Now, I don't know where this award originated, but it's an award, and that's good enough to satiate my ego demons until the next full moon. As I understand it, I now have to pass this award along to seven other blogs, or I will die.

Here are the blogs (asterisk = not safe for kids):

1) *The Adventures of Blanco Niño
2) *Things My Boyfriend Says (tragically cut short, presumably because the author stopped dating her boyfriend)
3) *Greenspeak
4) *Ralph Snart
5) The {Prefix}iest Thing I Saw Today
6) E is for Eric
7) John K Stuff

Of course, my love does cost a thing, so functioning blogs that I mentioned, listen up. According to the official rules crafted by the faceless and probably sinister entity that also created this award, rules which have been passed down through potentially thousands of anonymous hands, calling into question their very authenticity and value, you must:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Failure to comply will result in you not publicly admitting that you love other blogs. Not death. I lied about that to get you to do it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"the blasted treeline"

day two

God, this is hard.

But at least something happened to me yesterday, so I can write about that. If I can remember what is was. I mean, I know something happened. I made a mental note to the effect of "blog about this tomorrow", but I guess the note should have been about what it was, rather than its noteworthiness. Or maybe the note should have been half about the nature of the event, and half about its importance, because if I just remembered the event, instead of remembering to write about it, I'd be in the same boat I'm in now. Then again, if it was an event of note, I probably wouldn't need to remind myself to write about it. I'd just write about it.

What was I talking about?

Monday, September 22, 2008

writing season

You know how, when you stop doing something, like writing, for instance, or you only intermittently do that thing, like occasionally writing a dumb story about a family that goes to the moon, you start to forget how to do that thing. You know, like writing, for instance? Yeah, well, I didn't forget how to write. I just wanted to know if that's ever happened to you. That's all.

See, I can totally write. I just haven't. I just didn't want to for the past four months, because it was, like, summer and everything. And that's the only time I can do squat thrusts on the beach and bench and stuff. It ain't easy to write with your hands wrapped around sixty pounds of cold steel. That's sixty pounds in EACH HAND, btw. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait.

What'd I tell you, bro? I don't lie.

But now that it's fall, I might give this writing thing another go. If I don't find something better to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

doctor weaselbomb

chocolate-bears go to the moon

On Thursday morning, the papers announced that Gary Chocolate-Bear and his family would be the first Chocolate-Bears in space.

“Congratulations on the moon trip, Gary”, said Ronald Tewilliger, the Chocolate-Bears neighbor, as Gary was leaving for his job at the sewer factory.

“Thanks, Tewilliger”, replied Gary, and he drove into Tewilliger’s mailbox with his Hummer. The Hummer was Gary’s first big purchase from the endorsement money the Chocolate-Bears had received for winning the space contest. Oh, and he hated Tewilliger. That part is important since it would seem odd, based on their brief exchange, for Gary to have reacted in such a manner, unless it was an accident, which I’m telling you it wasn’t. He hated him. It doesn’t matter why.

The space contest, or the Space Race, as the Chocolate-Bears had come to call it, was just that: a race. So it really was neither strange nor clever that they referred to it as such. As it turns out, millions of Americans were doing the same thing, including most of the press. But by a rare coincidence, none of these people happened to know the Chocolate-Bears, nor did anyone in the family read the phrase in print, or hear it on television, so they were unaware that their "beats were stale", to quote a great, fictional doctor and part-time deejay.

Now, as I said, this contest, the contest won by the Chocolate-Bears, was a race, and in particular it was a race from Boston Harbor to the beaches of Peniche, Portugal, sponsored by Crest. The contestants were not allowed to use boats or planes, or any means of transportation other than their own limbs; however, they were allowed to carry with them as many tubes of toothpaste as they could manage. And it was this gift of hygiene that cost the lives of several hundred entrants, including the Chocolate-Bear’s youngest, Trudy, who, like her fellow departees, used her fingers to brush instead of swim. Mrs. Chocolate-Bear lamented the family’s loss in a brief, impromptu, floating funeral, claiming that “it was worse’n when somebody gits hit by a truck wearin’ durty drawers”, because, let’s face it, no tooth has ever been cleaned with a finger brush no matter how vigorous the scrubbing, and to meet one’s fate with a scuzzy mouth is probably the worst thing that could ever, ever happen to anyone, anywhere. But the Chocolate-Bears had entered the Space Race with great determination to win, and at all costs. And they did. I said that at the beginning of this story, and again in the first sentence of this paragraph.

And now the four Chocolate-Bears, previously known as the five Chocolate-Bears, were going to the moon. The moon, where seldom man has tread.

And they did.

The End.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


true story

I'm getting married in just over a week, so things have been pretty hectic, lately. On top of the typical wedding stuff that most couples have to deal with, Jodi and I are doing the design and signage work for the whole event, ourselves. Okay, Jodi's doing most of the design work. Okay, all of the design work. But I am contributing the cover of our ceremony program, a comic stip relating the bizarre but true story of how we met. It's a little ditty I call "Modern Love".

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

double date

Last Wednesday, I drove down to Chicago to meet with Aaron Reynolds, who's writing the next book I'm illustrating, The Carnivore Club. We had a serious discussion about, among other things, animals wearing hats, and the comedic principle that a shark getting wheeled around in a bathtub is funnier than a shark walking on its fins (originally proposed by Sid Caesar, I believe), before heading out for dinner at a place called Carnivale. I always have a tough time distinguishing between various Latin cuisines, but the abundance of plantain and pork products on the menu clued me in that restaurant was probably Cuban-themed. In any case, they made the best raspberry mojito I've ever tasted. Yum.

The following Saturday, I was in the car again, this time heading to the fabled Brat Stop, where, for the second time, I lunched with my boy Matt Cordell. He brought along a couple of books by Saul Steinberg and Jean-Jacques Sempé that were just jaw-dropping, along with some samples of his own work which are nothing to sneeze at, either. Here's an image from his upcoming picture book, TOOT! TOOT! ZOOM! (written by Phyllis Root, to be published by Candlewick in the Spring of 2009):

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

reggie veggie head

Here's a little picture that slipped through the cracks during the whole Omro Oeuvre thing. My apologies to Mr. Wrage.


The Boys is in the can. My vacation is over. Work beckons. And now that contracts have been signed, I can finally talk about what's on my "to do" list for the next several months (and beyond).

First up is a picture book called The Carnivore Club. It's about a self-loathing trio of meat-eaters (including the Timber Wolf, below) that band together to confront their secret shame. I'm sure I'm making it sound funnier than it is.

Aaron Reynolds (Chicks and Salsa) is writing it, I'm (Hippo! No, Rhino) drawing it, and Chronicle Books is ponying up the cash to bind it all together in a flippable format. I'll be heading down to Chicago next week to meet the author for the first time (a rare opportunity in this business, especially when you live in the Midwest), so I'll be sure to report back on how it went.

After that comes my second book with Simon & Schuster (publisher of The Boys), which will either be called It's Mouse in the Morning...Starring Mouse!, or What's That Up Ahead?, depending on which idea gets the thumbs up from my editor. On the other hand, he could squash both of them, and send me back to the drawing board. But as I'm legally required to make another book for S&S, you can count on seeing something in the intervening years between now and the end of my life.

Last but not least, I'll be illustrating Joseph Bruchac's Rabbit's Snow Dance for Dial. Everything I know about this book I learned from the plot summary on my contract (it's the story of how the rabbit got its fluffy tail), which goes to show you the level of discrimination I exhibit when selecting jobs. Still, I hear the author's good, and snow is easy to paint.

More news as it develops.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008


nice try, roscoe jenkins

Thursday was Saint Valentine's Day here in the Milwaukee, and perhaps where you live, as well. It was also the day that I mailed off the illustrations for my third picture book, The Boys, and the day I did not see box office sensation Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins.

Now, you might be asking yourself, "How can he equate the achievement of completing a book to the achievement of not seeing box office sensation Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins?" To which I might respond "I didn't. That's why I mentioned Roscoe Jenkins second."

Look, I am definitely more proud of finishing the book than not seeing Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. The Boys took four years of my life to complete. It just so happens that on the last day of those four years, something else of note didn't happen. And why shouldn't I be proud of that? I mean, have you seen the ads for this thing? If you can resist the wild-eyed antics of funnyman Martin Lawrence, then you would have been a better man than me had I not also resisted the wild-eyed antics of funnyman Martin Lawrence.

But don't for a moment think that I think not seeing Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins is as noteworthy an event as turning in my book. It was a much more rewarding experience in just about every way imaginable, except in the way that it was not another potentially hilarious movie in which Mo'Nique slaps some fool for disrespecting her I didn't see, despite commercials compelling me to do otherwise. And I'm going to celebrate by taking the entire day I didn't see Big Momma's House 2* off.

*formerly President's Day.

Friday, February 1, 2008

hot poop 2

What, whaaat? The second episode of Hot Poop, the Internet's eight-hundred and forty-second celebrity commentary show, is now ready to pop up out your hamper, and make y'all scamper. Get familiar by clicking on the link.

hot poop 2

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


we wish you a very special blog post

Happy New Year, everyone.

Firstly, I want to apologize for not being around, lately. And secondly, I want to apologize for apologizing for that. It seems to me that when people apologize for not keeping up to date on their blog, that apology post is sometimes their last. I assure you that won't be the case, here, even though I've just undermined that sentiment by writing an apology post. Which means this may or not be my last post, although I can give you a guarantee of questionable merit that it won't be.

The third and final order of business is to announce the winner of the latest The Great Shroogly-Dunk Giveaway: it's Missy from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and The [Prefix]iest Thing I Saw Today! As with all but one of the previous Giveaways, the winner was also the sole entrant, proving conclusively that it's almost impossible to lose this contest, so much so that it actually makes me angry at you—yes, all of you—for not winning in the past, and pre-angry at you for not winning in the future. If you are a future winner, please e-mail me at, to let me know if we come out on top in the coming robot war, or if, in a cruel twist, we become servants to the machines that once served us.